Here in the UK, it’s pretty much Pride Season now. The majority of our events take place between July and August, with many seeing London Pride as the beginning and Manchester Pride as the end. My local Pride, here in Hull, takes place on the 22nd July, and this year it is the official UK Pride of 2017, which is a happy coincidence thanks to us also hosting the UK City of Culture 2017 too.
Our Pride has been hit by a recent drama, but seemingly has bounced back after a couple of days of everyone collectively losing their shit and me passing daily commentary on the escalating dramatics. From complete strangers, to Pride trustees, I had a number of people reach out to me over my balanced opinion on what was going on, and well, as a complete outsider, it was nice. You see, I don’t particularly praise my local Pride as for years it has been the same thing year in, year out, but I also definitely don’t rate my local scene given that it’s full of cliques.
Nevertheless, I always attend Pride, and I am the first to defend it and call people to attend it. Pride is important, no matter what city it is held in, because for one day or weekend out of the year, we get the chance to be truly visible, and relaxed about it, as well as having some fun.
Most of the years, I just attend my local Pride, but in the past, due to me moving around a little, I have attended multiples in a year. This year, I am attending three (erroneously reported as two in a post somewhere), but I shall be here at my local Pride in Hull, I’ll be at Manchester Pride in August and in October I get to live my Disney Princess dream and attend Magical Pride in Disneyland Paris.
To me, it is our duty as LGBTQ+ people to attend at least our local Pride, so that we get that freedom of visibility for one day, and the fact I get to attend 3 just makes me happier than ever. It is a chance to experience different things and live my life as I always do – free and open.
Now, I could prattle on about how we need to focus on the politics and less on the Spice Girl making the most of her solo career or the boomerang of S Club Party doing their rounds, but that’s not what I want to do. Instead, I do just want to encourage anyone and everyone to attend a Pride event, and to just live your life for you, even if it is for that one day. Pride was made for you, not for the people outside of our community, and you shouldn’t let judgements of people who aren’t paying your bills, dictate what you can and can’t do. Live your life for you, for one day and gather your friends and even family and go.
I am lucky that this year I get to go with friends from across the country, those closer to home and even my mother when we go to my local Pride, and then I get to attend the others with my friends who are dear to me. It is about the celebration, and it is about being who we are openly.
If you don’t have to pay to get into your Pride, then at least donate, because that is the stuff that matters. Your money is invested into the future of your local Pride, and sometimes it is very much needed to keep things going. My local Pride is free, but I donate to it’s future because I believe that it matters. The Pink Pound has a value and it’s better spent back on you then in the pockets of people who work against us or seek to profit from us.
Don’t let things turn you away. Grab the clothes you want to wear, slap on the face you want to show, and live for you, even if it is just for one day. Embrace you, show the world you, and get involved in the community.