London & Brighton; Manchester in two weeks, and perhaps even Glasgow before that. I’d only been to Pride a couple of times until this summer, and by the end of the month it looks like I’ve have been to four in a few weeks!
It’s all part of working at Gaydio – listen, go on, you know you want to 😊 – and happened very, very last-minute. I’ve enjoyed both Prides I’ve been to very much, and I’m sure those still to come will be no different. As an opportunity to spend time among people like me, and an excuse to have a bloody good party, they can’t be faulted.
But I can’t help asking myself; is partying really what Pride is supposed to be about? Short answer, no.
The point of Pride, ever since the Stonewall marches in New York almost 50 years ago, has been to campaign for equal rights for everyone. As it’s spread around the world, Pride has raised awareness of gender and sexual diversity; given a powerful voice to those who otherwise may not be heard; and been an opportunity to remember those who have lost their lives, or their liberty, in the fight for equality.
As much as the world has changed in the last half-century, like the video above shows, there is still so much more to do. With reactionary, right-week Governments in the USA, and the UK; people in India, and Uganda threatened with the death penalty just for being who they are; and atrocities like Orlando, there has never been a more important time for Pride to continue to be what it was born to do.
Last Sunday, I woke up after Brighton Pride exhausted and happy, but also wondering whether I’d been to a Pride at all. Was it not just a concert in the park? I’d had a fantastic time, but couldn’t help thinking that the event had become an opportunity for organisations to advertise their diversity credentials, and make money.
I’m not saying that we should start marching on Downing Street, or turn what have grown into amazing events back into simple political protests. That would be a backwards step. But we should never, ever lose sight of why we have Pride, and what it is really all about.