So anyone who follows me on social media, will be aware that I was one of the 57,000 whom attended Brighton Pride on Saturday. Yes, you read that right, 57,000. It’s a new record for Brighton Pride and I think it’s pretty easy to work out what caused that staggering figure to swarm the city centre and Preston Park: Britney Spears. Before I get into this post, I would like to thank Brighton Pride, Britney Spears, Pixie Lott, Louise, MNEK, Mabel, Ella Eyre and all the hosts and DJ’s for what was overall an incredible day. The highlight of course was Britney and the Piece of Me tour. She slayed it and everyone in Preston Park was eating it up, myself included. Sidenote: Britney if by whatever chance you read this, I can’t wait to see you on the 24th! While I’m thanking people, I’d like to thank one of my best friends, Charlotte. It was fabulous as always to see you but also because of what you said throughout the day.
Now, my gushing and love professing aside, I wanted to share with you something that I have both noticed and been quite frankly bugged by. In the last few years, I have noticed that around Pride month and the Pride events that would follow, companies would start to create rainbow products and Pride related imagery to drive sales and capitalise, which I completely understand. Businesses are always looking for opportunities for development and where they can maximise profits. The reason I don’t let this bug me is because the majority of brands that I am interested in and follow, donate portions or the whole proceeds to an LGBTQ+ charity. Yes, they are capitalising on the community and Pride events, but they are supporting the community, raising awareness and generating money that in turn helps those in the community who can benefit from it. You may wonder why I mention that if it doesn’t bug me. Well, the reason I did is to set the scene.
With the LGBTQ+ community, Pride season and Pride events being brought into the mainstream, it then becomes part of the zeitgeist. This is both negative and somewhat positive. The positives being that more people are aware of the struggle, repression and fight that the LGBTQ+ community has had and still faces to this very day and should they be open-minded will or already have begun supporting the community and our fight for equality. The negatives are that some people develop FOMO over LGBT+ individuals and Pride, thus go into overdrive to find themselves a gay best friend, introduce gay slang to their vocabulary or see Pride as social media content. The last on that list I heard on Saturday and have been finding it playing on my mind ever since. There was a group of heterosexual girls on the same train with me and not long into the journey they began discussing what they would do when there, to which one of them said and I quote “I’m only going to Pride to do it for the ‘gram”. I was irked not by this girl wanting to share some photos from the day ahead on Instagram, but by the fact that she was only there to get photos to share on Instagram. It was both agitating and saddening to hear. Agitating because the struggle of LGBTQ+ people was nothing more than selfies and ‘candid’ photos to her, saddening because I have friends who wanted to be there to celebrate our community and join in the cause’s visibility, but because of ignorant people like her were unable to get their hands on a ticket. Now before the pitchforks are pointed my way and I’m deemed some bitter gay, I’m not suggesting that heterosexual people are turned away from Pride, I just think it’s a shame there are some who don’t recognise the importance of the event.
Charlotte, mentioned earlier, is an example of straight attendees who do in fact acknowledge Pride’s importance to LGBTQ+ community members. When asked by a member of the press and by other attendees what brought her down to Brighton, her first answer each time was “to support my gay friend and the community”. The respect Charlotte displayed in her behaviour at Brighton on Saturday differed from many, as myself, my friends and fellow attendees noticed drunken and intimidating behaviour from groups of straight attendees that has left many feeling unsafe, unwelcome and unfortunately put off attending future events. Sidenote: I do not tolerate any disrespectful, intimidating or untoward behaviour from anyone who is drunk.
Being a part of the LGBTQ+ community isn’t a chosen life. It isn’t a lifestyle trend. It isn’t something to pretend to be. Being LGBTQ+ is something you are born as. It’s a part of you that is ridiculed, mocked and looked down on. Being LGBTQ+ is something that often denies you equality. This is why we have Pride. To celebrate and spread a message of love. To celebrate and look at how far our rights have come. Pride is also still a protest in which we fight for our community who are denied this love and support. We love you and we support you. And if you’re reading this and are heterosexual with the intentions of supporting the LGBTQ+ community, I want to thank you.
Photography by Jack Bradley