me / Pride / RL / thoughts

My experience at London Pride 2014 (RL Post)

Yesterday I went up to see the Pride Parade in London. Ok, I’ve lived in London a long time, I should have made the effort to take part before now. (I’ve been in town when it’s been happening on previous years, but that’s not the same.) My friend asked me if I would go with him, and I put aside my well worn excuses of ‘I don’t like the underground/crowds/other people,’ and I agreed. I was anxious about going the night before, this is pretty normal for me. And the next morning, it was raining! But he still wanted to go and I didn’t want to let him down.

We stood along Regent Street, and the rain came down… and down.. and down, lol. The shops were doing a good trade on umbrellas. But everyone was in a good mood and I was too, my anxiety was gone and I was just excited for the Parade to come by. There were Pride flags along the streets and on shop windows, I’d seen posters on the way through London in the train stations, London was getting behind the LGBT community. And so many people took part in the Parade, 200 groups totalling around 20,000 people. And the streets were crowded to see them. I loved seeing the people around me smiling and cheering and in the mood to celebrate. As the Parade went by, I loved all the colour, the drums, the costumes, the incredible diversity of the people marching, walking, dancing. Every kind of people was there marching; every age, race, even some pro-gay religious groups. Every L, G, B, T , Q and A was represented, straight supporters, families passed by, babies in prams right up to groups for gay pensioners. I saw Armed Forces LGBT Army, Navy, and RAF. I saw one old guy on his mobility scooter, decorated with rainbows and a sign that read ‘I’m the oldest gay in the village… 91 years.’ He got a big round of applause, lol. And I saw Ian McKellen! Walking up front with the group from Stonewall. You shallllllllll notttttttt passsssssssss (judgement!) haha. That was really cool.

I took a few photos, I could have taken hundreds of everything and everyone, but I just at the same time wanted to watch and absorb everything. And I really felt part of something special. It was uplifting, it was inclusive, it was even a bit overwhelming… the strength of support and good feeling all around me. A few days ago I wrote in one of my posts that one of the missions of Pride is to ‘reinforce positive messages about identity.’ That’s what I wrote, but it wasn’t until yesterday that I really felt the words I had written. As someone who has no real family connections in RL and a very small circle of friends, a quite introvert and isolated person, this experience impacted me in a hugely positive way. And if I was try and sum it up, it comes down to me understanding that whatever I might think or feel, I’m not alone in this world. Yes there are haters out there, there are people who want to hurt LGBT people and preaching hatred every day. I read too much about that on social network sites. But yesterday I was surrounded by thousands of people who had nothing but love and support for one another. And I was part of that. I’m finding this post hard to write because I can’t really express just how amazing that felt. Something like realising you have been alone in a dark room for too long, when you walk outside and find your friends are waiting for you outside in the sunshine. And everyone knows that time in the sun is healing.

So me and my friend were going to head to Trafalgar Square afterwards, but after being rained on for more than a couple hours, we were both freezing, so we just headed for food and coffee and then came home. It was a really good day, I’m so grateful to him for suggesting we go, I had an amazing time.

A few random pictures :))

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