This weekend was Brighton Pride. It was supposed to be the all encompacing LGBT Pride. It is (in theory) supposed to represent everyone who falls under the big umbrella of non-straight persons and/or non-cis persons, but what happened was just plain awful. Don’t get me wrong, there were upsides, there was good laughs to be had… but overall… well, I will explain here.
I don’t really know why I expected more to be honest, after the fantastic event that was Trans Pride, it was hardly going to beat that. But I had hoped at least that it wouldn’t be worse… naturally I was wrong. It was at the Trans Pride picnic that we learnt of the first travesty. The final Pride Ambassador had been announced. What should have been a good announcement turned sour quickly, when we realised who it was. The guy who was known to claim it was just called Gay Pride, the guy who ignored many people who tried to explain to him that Pride was started with the stonewall riots lead by Trans Women of Colour and bisexual people, the guy who wrote and sang a song about bisexual people (while claiming himself to be bisexual, only to retract it later) and how they just want to have sex. It was an utter joke.
What made matters worse was the way the complaints (which pointed out the issues) were dealt with. The person who was replying as Brighton Pride’s representative called those complaining ‘bullies’ (which was after removed through an edited comment…. they can be looked at you know!) they said that the ambassador represented people in the community, that he had stood up to bullies and represented people. It was called out and yet they did nothing. Looking back at the thread now, they had even removed Tyler’s comments and made it so he can not comment on anything on their page. Wow.
Then, on the day, came the audacity of the final ambassador’s placement in the parade, two slots behind the Trans Collective! He stood there on top of the bus waving at people as we tried to avoid when he came over. Mingling with us to find out the hold up of the parade. It was awful.
Then of course, unrelated to the ambassador, came the hold up. We were kept entirely in the dark while we were stopped for an hour and a half. Rumours were spreading and it was only when we got there that we had it confirmed for sure by a friend who had a photo of the bomb disposal unit getting rid of the bomb on the seafront near the parade. It was awful, we had to reroute the walk, instead walking away from the park and then looped back around to go the right way. It was good that it was dealt with, but keeping us informed would be useful!
Before we left Tyler needed the loo and so headed off to find the disabled toilets, only to find out they were in the same place as the womens!!! What was that all about? Hello Pride? Where was the accessibility there for trans people? I was astonished, but at the same time… why should I have expected anything better?
The parade itself, when it got going, was actually pretty good! I had not done the Big Pride parade before, and I was lucky enough to be right near the front with Tyler and the rest of the Trans Collective and even be at the front of that section for most of the day and seeing the crowd cheering for us was great, taking pictures and having a good time. It was great. It took us a while, but when we arrived it seemed okay. Then we tried to get into the park.
Tyler’s struggling at the moment with his joints quite badly and so was allowed to go through the disabled access section that led to our gate. However, the rule was only ONE extra person was allowed to go with him. It worked for us, but we pointed out how unfair that would be to someone with more than one partner. If someone who was non-monogamous and had more than one partner, they’d have been totally stuck! How unfair would that be? It was awful.
It was then made clear that we should use the disabled access into the park. Then they realised the guy who was doing the disabled access had disappeared somewhere. No idea where. So they let us go through the gate quicker and got us in. Then though, they had no disabled bands for the other side. Perfect, we were in the park without any bands on and Tyler either had to speak to somone who he is very uncomforable around, or use the normal toilets in the park (thankfully there was one in the Trans tent but that was little comfort).
We headed off to the Trans Tent next. It was good to see friends (it was here we were shown the photo of the bomb disposal team) and hear poetry from Alice and readings from Brighton Transformed by four of the contributers. It was lovely.
We also were asked to sign a petition while there (that had to be done outside of the tent – where was the accessibility there for people who had to sit down?) and we were fast to sign, as it was in favour of a Gender Identity Clinic being opened in Brighton and Hove which needs to happen.
We then got food and met up with friends, which was great. The food Lunch Positive provided was wonderful, we had Chicken & Chorizo with rice first, then Chicken curry after, and pwoah. It was amazing. I am glad they were there again, everything at Pride costs so much, especially food and drink and to have a community run project who give the money back after. It is fantastic. Plus it tastes so good!
As per usual there were comments made about trans people, my good friend ended up wearing their ‘Some People Are Trans Get Over It’ top at the street party and got funny looks. It is ridiculous how people’s attitiudes are still the same. We didn’t even attempt the street party (paying to get onto a street, which then charges at least double on drinks? No thank you). We ended up going back to our friends at about eight, and doing drinking games with a variation on beer pong, card games (including ride the bus and Bullshit) it was great fun!
On the way back we had a drunk woman refer to us both as ladies (which was great, thank you random drunk woman for helping make Pride that little bit more awful) and when we got to Churchill square there were loads of drunkards and people sitting around watching as a man was arrested and thrown in the back of a police van. This was the third arrest I saw that day, but the fourth of the police being fairly heavy handed. It wasn’t a comfortable situation but we had to sit as our bodies were so sore.
It took us nearly two hours to get back. Between Tyler being slightly tipsy and both of us running on empty as our bodies were so exhausted and painful, all we wanted to do was curl up and sleep. It was nice though, walking along holding hands on our way home, it may have taken nearly 2 and a half times as long, but it was great. I love spending time with him, and alone time where we aren’t busy is few and far between right now so it was lovely.
When we got back and the day after we were looking through the photos on instagram and Tyler found one of the showers at the campsite. It was awful! They were seperating Trans people from everyone else! Why couldn’t they have just had a gender inclusive shower? One for everyone who was comfortable showering with people of mixed genders (and those with a lack of gender)? It was a good idea in theory, but the execution was damn awful.
Then today, we found out on facebook that GSCENE had refered to the event as Gay Pride, just to add insult to injury.
All in all, it wasn’t a fantastic weekend. I have probably forgotten many of the negative things that went on, and I apologise for that. But the thing I loved was seeing friends, I saw an old friend I haven’t seen in over a year, and spent time with others who I don’t get to in that sort of setting often. Also experiencing the parade, despite it’s hiccups, that was brilliant. And I love some of the photos that were taken. Take a look at some of the pictures on Facebook for more (though I may update this post with some when my wordpress app stops messing about!)