Yes, this is the obligatory post about my day at Pride in London. Didn't do one last year, so I'm going to do one this year. Yes, every LGBT blog does one, but hey, Pride's important, and every year I have a different experience.
I go with my church, who join in with Christians Together at Pride, which also has Catholics, Quakers, Baptists, and Methodists, among others. I see the same people each year in the purple "Christian & Proud" t-shirts, and sometimes new faces. The Christian group is usually about 60 people I'd say, and we're normally in the same region as the Muslim group (see this blog post about an incident that happened while we were all lined up waiting), the Humanist group, and the Jewish group.
We had 8 people turn up at the church, and we made our way to the meeting point. The most exciting thing for me was I got to see Big Jesus, who I had heard would be joining us. A church in Blackpool have made this massive Jesus wearing a traditional robe and a not so traditional rainbow sash, that stands on a scaffold on someone's shoulders and joins the parade, with independent arms that two other people control. During the parade, he was waving, blowing kisses, giving hi-fives, it was awesome! Who doesn't love a massive, home-made Jesus?! There were also badges being handed out that said "Justice for Jeremy" which refers to this historic incident which was followed by this one.
We headed to Baker St, and eventually found our spot. Our church rolled out our banner, and I wore our rainbow flag as a sarong. It went well with my rainbow nails, and my make-up; I didn't have face paint, but using lipstick, eyeshadow, and eye-liner, I draw on and coloured in a stars and swirls design encircling my face and going down onto my neck. I had big earrings as well, but it wasn't all girly - I also wore my Timberlands, because I wanted to, and no one gave a damn about gender expression. Obviously.
It started to rain, and very rarely stopped for the rest of the day. Plus we were stuck. We arrived at 12, the front set off at 1, we moved at 2.15. But we're British, so essentially queuing in the rain was no problemo. I felt sorry for they guy wearing Big Jesus, that thing must have gained serious weight from water-logging. I had a brolly (I am a stage manager, always be prepared) so it was fine, and we did eventually move off.
There weren't quite as many crowds, because we were near the back and it was raining, but it was a lot of fun. My cheeks hurt from smiling so much. But by gum was it tiring. By the time we got to tea and cake at the Quakers meeting house, I was cream crackered. I went home, took off the face, and did my grocery shopping.
The most inspiring thing for me was seeing the joy of my friend who was part of my church group. It was his first time in a Pride parade, and he was almost gleeful. "I want as much tat as possible!" It was heart warming, and shows just how important pride events are even on a personal level. There was also a friend of a friend who came, who balked as we lined up, and went to disappear into the crowds rather than marching with everyone watching. Because for every man, woman and those in between in that parade, there were thousands like him who cannot feel comfortable being so open about who they are. For him, it was an acute suffering, as he is from a country that culturally and legally is very hostile towards LGBT.
Today, my church also had a combined feast day - St Peter and LGBT Pride. The rainbow flag was on the altar, the banner was hung up where our ten commandments are supposed to go, and I wore my rainbow pin on my alb (white robe) whilst serving. Our 'sermon' was one of the LGBT group interviewing a member of the Open and Proud Diamonds group, a UK charity that give support to LGBT refugees and asylum seekers from Africa. And my enthusiastic friend wrote the prayers, but he was unwell this morning, so I read them. It was agreed by all to have been a wonderful service, with extra cake and sweets donated by members of the group to accompany the tea afterwards.
I love being part of LGBT stuff. I have had a great weekend. And I feel Proud to be a bisexual.