Today I walked down the high street of Brighton and was greeted by nothing but rainbows. Every balcony, every business, every window adorned it seemed with my tribes’ colours. And I rejoiced. Even this cynical soul couldn’t stop the grin. Because those rainbows, displayed by the allies and supporters of my LGBTQ+ community are helping us create a change that can’t be challenged. Because twenty-nine years on since I first walked down a Brighton street that was filled with bigots and hatred, as they spat and shouted obscenities at us early Pride marchers, my city is declaring love is love. Regardless.
Hell, yeah it’s taken way too long to get here and it has been a dream so many have worked and campaigned for but we are almost there. Yes, we need to take further strides to ensure true equality for all before we cross that rainbow finishing line. The stats for Trans hate crime and racism within our community desperately need addressing whilst the isolation and bullying so many LGBTQ+ teenagers live with is a crisis we need to face. But I have faith that we can do this. Together. With Pride.
Our Pride. A Pride that can and does represent us if we give it a chance. Too often I read damning words, as claims are made against the commercialisation of Pride. Of its lack of “Gay”. I strongly believe that nothing will feel gayer to a young person attending their first ever Pride this weekend than Brighton. And if the businesses and allies sponsoring parts of our celebrations are what the 21st century Pride event need to do to remain sustainable, successful and sensational then so be it. I’d rather march down Brighton’s Western Road to a backdrop of commercial enterprises supporting me and mine than face the rows of hatred that once greeted me and my placard back in those early Pride days. I’d rather take the hand of a business happy to contribute so that other local LGBTQ+ organisations can partake in Pride weekend and remain funded throughout the year thanks to grants from Brighton Pride’s fundraising than judge them based on my pink tinted vision of Pride’s gone by. And I’d rather celebrate the amazing contribution so many across our city make to create this record-breaking fundraising event. For every magical moment there will be a volunteer, a worker, a performer, a supporter, a sponsor, a Pride wonder. And for every magical moment they create I want to thank them.
Ever since my purple doc marten boots (yeah, tell me about it!) first stomped their way along a Pride march back in 1991 I’ve become prouder each and every year as I’ve watched our LGBTQI Pride movement grow. And grow. And grow. Because of the LGBTQ+ Pride movement and the visibility of our rainbow covered cities during Pride season we are witnessing an acceptance of equality that runs deep in our society. So deep that when bigots protest against us or beat us, be it on the streets, in print, outside schools or online, the outrage is clear. Because our allies are clear. We Stand Together. Against homophobia. Against transphobia. Against bigotry. Against homophobia. For you. For me. For us. End of.
Brighton Pride 2019. Celebrate, Campaign. Donate. For more info and tickets check out Brighton Pride here.