Saturday, 7th July, was my first Pride event. And boy, it was London Pride, so a big deal, and WORLD Pride to boot, so even bigger! I was very excited to be involved with an LGBT event this large, and I was not disappointed.
I met up with the reps from St James' and we got ourselves to Baker Street. After losing and finding each other again on the way there, we also found the purple-tshirt clad Christians in the huge line along the street ready to parade. We had the tshirts, and a banner, and leaflets; I got given a rainbow pin, and I bought snacks for the day, and there were free bottles of VitaminWater from the sponsors, and the rain held off for a while.
The bisexual group was behind us, which made me glad, but I didn't speak to anyone except my friends I knew already. Looking back, I'm sad I didn't. I will improve upon my next Pride. I've also been talking to others in the Christian group, and we also need to improve next year with more glitter, pazzazz, and just a but more gay :-P We looked too dour to be in a gay parade, so we must do something about it.
We enjoyed looking all around while we waited to set off. There were lots of fabulous drag queens, and some other men in very revealing, saucy outfits (lovely jubbly) walking past, as well as lots of excited, less glittery people like me. After over an hour's wait, we finally set off, and marched all the way up Baker St. That was quietest part of the route, apart from the Gay Men's Chorus in front of us. Very quickly, I had read all the signs within eye line, my favourite being the Quakers'. One side had the four fundamentals of Quakerism - peace, simplicity, equality and truth. The other side went on to add love, hope, spirit, and cake! Which thought was a great addition.
It was overwhelming, trying to contemplate what I was part of, and it only really hit me when we got to Oxford St, and it was packed with people lining the route. I felt fit to burst when I took a turn carrying the banner; it was moving to shout out to the world "I am proud of who I am!" and to feel the response "We love you for it!" come right back. So much support, and fun, it was an emotional and political festival.
Parading was a very satisfying way of celebrating queers, demonstrating my support and inclusion, and having a laugh.Yeah it rained later, but no one cared!
I was sad not to be able to enjoy the festivities in Trafalgar Sq; a couple of friends showed up at the end of the parade, and we all enjoyed tea and cake in SJP's garden. C and I got into some deep conversation about sexuality and faith and before we knew it, everyone was leaving to attend the service - the World Pride service at Bloomsbury Baptist. It was a moving and affirming experience, which I enjoyed even though the baptist worship style is not really my thing.
It is always wonderful to share an experience with people who believe as you do, have gone through similar experiences, and to know that they are there to befriend you, help you, support you, no matter what, because they believe in you and who you are, and that you love them and support them in return. Pride really is about being proud, together - it's a way of showing each other, and the world, that we love each other, and know ourselves to be good people.
There is so much good about being queer; nothing against straight people, and I know there are a lot of cons in this world, but I am so glad to be queer. It's not a choice, and I was lucky enough to get the golden, glittery ticket with feather trim.
Bisexual and Proud, bitches! :-P I love you all.