Just in case any of you are worried, the only similarity with Debbie Does Dallas is the alliteration. Over the last few weeks I have hit a personal record of three Prides, very different to last year when I managed to spectate one (London) and take part in one (Brighton); I missed Trans Pride last year where quite a few of my friends took part as I had a long planned gig that day.
TransPALS in the parade for Brighton Pride, and I had a whale of a time. Right up until Saturday morning I was not sure I would be able to make it. Friday I was totally laid out with back ache, which combined with the remnants of a cold I had picked up in Brighton the weekend before made me think that Brighton Pride was the last thing I needed.
Saturday dawned and since I could (just about) move I decided to risk it and go, I'm glad I did as I was able to meet up with some old friends and make some new ones. We were quite close to the front of the parade, as the third group we were definitely in the first wave, and were either warming up the crowd for those behind us or basking in the first waves of love and enthusiasm. I am not sure if there were other trans groups further behind us, but we were a much smaller presence than in the London parade.
Being at the start of the parade, when we got to the end we had the chance to watch the whole thing go past us, I was struck by the sheer scale of the thing, this is now one massive parade, lots of buses and large trucks, disco music blaring out, engines revving and and barely clad pretty young things dancing.
I found myself asking what are some of the sponsors getting out of this? American Express and Barclays Bank don't part with money out of the kindness of their heart ~ not least because they do not have hearts! Large amounts of money had been spent on some of those floats, and I'm quite sure that some of those samba bands and other organisations were not LGBT. I had the definite feeling that this Pride is no longer about LGBT rights, it's not a celebration of people finally being able to be authentic in public ~ it had more to do with Carnival than Pride. I did not go into the park, last year I did and to me it just felt like any other festival with lots of people listening to bands I don't like and paying to much for not very good beer. I do know that I am an old fogey and that was a large part of my reason for not going in ~ that and my poor back which was beginning to to give serious pain.
I have subsequently heard on the grapevine of several Transphobic incidents, this distresses me as it is so against everything that Pride should stand for.
I was interviewed by local TV prior to the parade and asked what being part of Pride meant to me, I replied that it was an opportunity to remind people that there is a T in LGBT ~ I wonder if there is still a purpose to Big Pride.