IT’S SUMMER and that means it’s time for a pride parade! Pride can be the best time to express yourself with friends or family and, in England at least, it’s often treated as a party. It is also, at its heart, a protest, a yearly act of defiance, demonstrating the power of the queer community. Whether you go to protest or to celebrate, or both, there’s a few things you’ll need to make your first pride the best it can be.
Water (and preferably food).
You will be on your feet for a LONG time. I cannot state this strongly enough. Some parades can last for three or four hours. You’ll need liquid, or you’ll become dehydrated, and no one wants that. Chucking a bottle of water in your bag doesn’t take much effort, and you’ll be grateful of it when you’re two hours in and there’s still ten more floats and three more brass bands to come.
As everyone knows, gays can control the weather. When we’re not busy causing hurricanes in the Bible Belt, we like to make sure pride parades get as much sun as possible. Every single parade I have been to (keeping in mind that I live in England) has happened on a sunny, warm day. Sun cream is an absolute must. Not only does it protect you from the dangers of skin cancer, it also keeps your skin soft, which is why a lot of foundations now include an SPF.
Glitter in some form.
While this isn’t mandatory, it is fun, and you can pretty much go wild with it. Put it on your face, put it in your hair, wear a sparkly top, the possibilities go on and on. If your style is more low-key, don’t worry, there’s bound to be someone there wearing enough glitter for the both of you.
LGBTQ+ means family. Family means no one gets left behind. When you go to pride, you have to abandon your judgements and prejudices, and let people be who they want to be. Pride allows everyone to express who they really are in relative safety, and it may be the only time of year that some people can do that. If you see someone with flying the asexual flag, don’t question whether ace people should be part of the community. If you see someone wearing a leather dog mask, don’t laugh at them or mock them. If you see a six-foot-tall man in nine-inch heels and a sparkly sequin dress, don’t pull faces. This is who they are. They will accept you and you should accept them. Today is not a day for judgement.
Also, don’t scoff at the man and woman holding hands. You don’t know them. One or both of them could be bisexual, or transgender, OR they could be at pride to support a friend. Many of my straight friends come to pride with me to support and celebrate the community. Unless they are trying to make the whole day about themselves, you don’t need to have a go at them.
Let me reiterate:
Bisexual people have every right to be at pride
Transgender people have every right to be at pride.
Asexual/aromantic people have every right to be at pride.
Allies have every right to be at pride.
Everyone just needs to respect everyone else.
As an aside, the small groups of anti-LGBTQ+ protesters also have a right to be there, despite their ignorant and unpleasant views. If you want to have a chat with them about their opinions, go ahead, but be polite about it. It makes the community as a whole look great and it prevents any nastiness. If they don’t offer you the same courtesy, walk away. They’re just not worth it.
Pride is one of the best events of the year and I make an effort to go at least once every summer. The feeling of walking through a city or a town surrounded by people who wouldn’t bat an eyelid at you holding your partner’s hand or wearing clothes made for a different gender is wonderful and completely liberating. On that note, it’s important to remember how we became so liberated. Keep an eye out this week for a history of pride and enjoy the last week of summer!