Rhiannon and I were in Leeds today, taking in Pride. We missed most of the parade, annoyingly, but still got to spend a good chunk of time mingling with the crowd, looking at the stalls and absorbing the atmosphere. This was the first Pride I’d been to, and it was pretty awesome. Tasty smells, good music, bright colours and it’s not often I’ve seen so many people looking so happy.
I’ve got an overarching impression of brightness and noise and people laughing, but individual fragments stand out really clear. A bleach-blond butch in a check shirt squeezing her girlfriend’s hand and grinning like mad; a tiny girl on someone’s shoulders waving a rainbow flag bigger than she was; two very nervous-looking teenagers holding signs saying “Bi – free hugs” and “Me too” (I hugged both of them); a trio of drag queens with huge, flower-festooned hairpieces; a couple of fake policemen posing for a photo with a real policeman; a pole-dancer in shiny purple leggings . . . so many people, so many happy people.
All ages. A lot of children, quite a lot in face paint and waving flags. Goths, punks; a lot of coloured hair, piercings, and tattoos. A contingent from LGBTLabour handing out “Never kissed a Tory” stickers. A firm of solicitors had a stall distributing advice about civil partnerships, powers of attorney, and will-making. There were some people from All Hallows church with a big banner saying “Some Christians are gay – get over it.” A guy in a sailor suit with a placard saying “When sailing the sea of love, I prefer buoys.”
It was pretty wonderful, and I’m glad I went.