Friday, 1 July 2011

Some thoughts on Pride

Here's a short piece I penned for the Guardian's Comment is Free. They didn't want it after all, so here it is in its full, unedited glory.

It’s a common grump among the gay community that Pride is no longer political. Worse still, meaningless. Civil partnerships, equalising the age of consent and the abolition of section 28 all happened while I was growing up. In a flash, full legal equality was delivered on a plate.

Sometimes we don’t know how lucky we are. While New York has only just legalised gay marriages, we’ve had civil partnerships since 2005. The changes are cultural too. I'm comfortable holding my boyfriend’s hand in public, and give him a peck on the lips each morning at the station, just like any other couple.

While the benefits of ‘proper’ marriage are being considered, I don’t care what it’s called. The day before last years’ Pride, my boyfriend proposed. I said yes, and sobbed tears of joy behind my shades as Pride-goers from London Lesbian and Gay Switchboard congratulated us en masse in a Soho church garden.

I’ll be there again for the same reasons I always go – a celebration of what it means to be gay. There may be four gay cabinet ministers in the Coalition, but as long as politicians need to be reminded of the spectrum of human sexuality, there will always be Pride. Just ask Peter Tatchell, permanently brain-damaged as a result of his bravery supporting pride in places such as Russia.

But if it means anything to me right now, it’s an obsession with finding a venue for 120 people and a decent photographer.

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