Since attending Brighton Pride, I’ve noticed that the newspapers and social media have been jam-packed with negative stories related to the festivities. Inflammatory headlines about ‘chaotic scenes,’ ‘scared revellers trapped in exit crush,’ and tales of stranded fans, all contribute to some seriously negative pride press! Come on guys… where’s the love at?!
Now, I understand that it is human nature to ruminate more over unpleasant events and that these types of stories sell many more papers than a fun tale of colourful, Saturday shenanigans. Whilst I agree that the free, jovial, family ‘picnic-in-the-park’ vibe of yesteryear is no longer present (cough, it’s much more fun than a picnic in the park), but by my reckoning (and everyone else’s…surely), Brighton still has SO much to celebrate and be proud of, so what’s with the neg news?!
First and foremost the attendance; A record-breaking number of people are estimated to have travelled to, ‘London-by-the-sea,’ to join in with the celebrations, a huge increase of over 150,000 from the year before. The town was a hive of excitement across all genders and sexualities and there was unanimous support from all the locals as flags, bunting and face paint was adorned in equal measure. Yes, this volume of people did make it remarkably slow going to leave at the end of the day, but this only went to back up the tagline for this year’s event; ‘We stand together!’. Also, if there’s one thing we Brits enjoy doing more than queuing, it’s complaining about it, and I for one would much prefer to be part of a slow procession of thousands of like-minded pride-partying legends, than slip away quickly due to a widespread ignorance and dismissal of the fight for equality.
The second biggest complaint was that the railway services were insufficient to cope with the transport needs of those attending (DUH). Based on many commuters’ daily experiences, I am absolutely amazed that this was of any surprise to National Rail, the Press and especially the attendees….get a grip pals.
Frankly, we must not forget how incredibly fortunate we are to be able to enjoy and celebrate our identities so openly, in comparison to many places around the world.
But I will get off my soapbox now, as I wish to share my personal highlight from the day, (narrowly beating a scantily clad Britney!) which for me, brought significant pride in Brighton.
Whilst queueing to empty my bladder, (which took up approximately 30% of my day, with the other 70% spent filling it!!) I witnessed a special moment, over in a flash, but something that reminded me of all of the very best bits of mortality. An inflatable beachball that was kicked awry, smacked in to a middle-aged lady who was also waiting. Rather than react with anger, she decided to take on this coiffed stranger in a little one-on-one football action. In her sandals she unsuccessfully attempted a nutmeg; they laughed, shared a brief hug and then went their separate ways as if nothing had happened. That brief snapshot in time left them, and those who witnessed it, with broad smiles across their faces and I was fortunate to catch this wonderful glimpse of playful humanity on camera.
They say human nature is black and white, but on this day, I would suggest it contains more than a hint of rainbow.