London Pride – It’s here, it’s queer, it’s not named after the beer

04/07/2010 at 11:18 pm (Gay, Gay Pride) (, , )


I’ve just experienced my first real “Gay Christmas” as I believe it’s known. It’s been an amazing, exciting weekend of fun.

Finding our spot along the streets of London, we waited for the parade to come our way. There’s a crazy guy with a megaphone, expelling the virtues of love between between a man and a woman over the evils of same-sex couples. The police are standing there, just in case.

The embittered tirades are drowned out, not with shouts and violence, but whistles. A few lads come rushing up the street blowing whistles and they’re so loud I can’t hear Crazy Man any more. It felt like the opening act, and the show was on its way.

Boris Johnson, Mayor of London, was at the head of the parade, indicating that the gay community was as essential to the running, operation and machinery of the capital as any other quarter. Turning the corner and coming into view afterwards was an explosion of colour and sound, as you would hope. One thing I did not expect was to actually feel quite moved.

Not only was it rewarding to see the British forces, the police, the NHS, teachers – institutions all, but the small sports groups, the disabled, the magnificent gay goths, the elder LGBT community… so many pockets of people that represent and make up gay life in London. I was a little overwhelmed.

This was a celebration of humanity as much as anything else. Among this celebration and spectacle was the handful of people parading under the banner of gay Muslims, along with the other religions. That’s when I think the Pride message hit home. I feel under no pressure from my friends or family to not be who I am. To march as a gay Muslim I thought was a very brave gesture, and I was proud of them.

I used to wonder what the point of Gay Pride was. When I was younger I actually believed that the world was changing so significantly that this wasn’t important. Why bang on about it? Surely getting dragged up to the nines, or for men to walk through a street in high heels or full bondage gear won’t win over the hearts of the masses?

As I have grown older I’ve realised that I don’t feel the need to win over the masses. I don’t have to conform. I have my beliefs, my way of doing things and my own life. A part of that life is about me having a sexual and romantic relationship with another man. I am also pretty lucky – some people don’t get that chance, or feel imprisoned in their own conceived idea of what is expected of them.

Gay Pride is just as important, and as it grows, new pockets of the gay community show themselves. With cultural diversity and strength in numbers. I don’t mean that like we’re all going to rise up and take over, but it’s to do with the fact that almost everyone knows someone who is gay, lesbian, or bi-sexual. Perhaps you could be talking to someone tomorrow that knows in their heart of hearts they are the wrong gender, or both genders, or perhaps a-sexual.

I forget that I am a minority sometimes, and part of the sexual minorities, but never forget that I’m gay. And yeah, quite proud as it happens…



19 Comments

  1. Keith said,

    Fantastic blog entry. Very poignant.

    Glad you had a great day too.

  2. Maximillian de Winter said,

    I’ve never been for the same reasons you mention here, but having read this, I think I’ll go next year…quite a moving blog :-)

    • peacockpete said,

      Thanks! It’s an experience, and different people will come away with different things, but it was an eyeopener for me. For many different reasons!

  3. Elly said,

    I think it must be very hard to be honest with who you are with the pressures of many communities, particularly if you come from a relgious community. This can be the same whatever your differences are or views. We do not all have to conform all the time, stand up for whatever you think – just be. I have never understood prejudices and try so hard to be tolerant (I fail sometimes, don’t we all) with everyones beliefs. I’m glad you had a good day though.

    • peacockpete said,

      That’s a great point, Elly. We’re all so very different, and we can still have beliefs despite our religion or other external influences. It’s tough to do it though, sometimes of course, regardless of a perspective of sexuality.

  4. zefrog said,

    Great post. I have taken the liberty to link to it in my write up for Londonist.

    (it’s not named after the beer, no, it’s called Pride London :))

    • peacockpete said,

      Thank you, very much – with my blessing! Ah, Pride London… That should avoid the confusion for me in future! ;-)

  5. Dragonlady said,

    Great post! It also always puzzled me why sexual orientation is such a big deal. I can understand not agreeing on political views or religious, anything to do with belief. But why is it so important to know who loves whom and why?
    As I grow older I am more and more intolerant… towards a world that is fine with violence everywhere but often criminalises love. I don’t understand that at all.

    Funny as I type I’m listening to Alice Cooper on Planet Rock is playing “Who Do You Love?”… ^^

    • peacockpete said,

      Thank you, hon! It does seem to be a major lever for political, social and religious power. If anything, as you say, it’s too personal for that, but I guess that’s where the emotive angle is. Alice Cooper’s Blow Me A Kiss is a great anthem against inequality too. :)

    • zefrog said,

      Sexuality (and sexual orientation) is so important for some people because a “deviant” sexuality challenges the established patriarchal social order.

      Women’s sexuality has been denied for centuries. there were only there to be traded and breed heirs. By the same token, gay men don’t play ball (to coin a phrase): they will not produce heirs and they are percieved to undermine masculinity by taking on a feminine role in the sexual intercourse. All things a red-blooded macho man can not abide…

  6. Prat said,

    I was gonna be there for Pride and this year my friends from India were to join me as well. After months of planning I couldnt make it last minute due to some issues with the residency permit renewal in the UAE. My friends had a blast… and i missed it real bad. But this post made up for it. So thank you!

    • peacockpete said,

      Thank you very much for that, means a lot to me. Fingers crossed you’ll get to make it in future! :)

  7. Being Proud at Pride… « LDN Adventure said,

    [...] This blog post was inspired by the blog post below from a very special person. Enjoy! http://peacockpete.wordpress.com/2010/07/04/london-pride-its-here-its-queer-its-not-named-after-the-… [...]

  8. zefrog said,

  9. Cyberschizoid said,

    Aaaaw! Glad you had a nice time Sweetie! xx

  10. Paul in USA said,

    Hi there fellow Brits. Here in the US of A – all about our community showing their Pride and whatnot. However, going out and flaunting your OUTrageous outfits, overdone makeup and twisted / gender bending trans ways does not give us as a community a good name. Do you not realize that? …if you look like a freak and act like one in public, you are a freak in the public’s mind!!

    • peacockpete said,

      Thanks for taking the time to post a response, Paul, but I think you’ve missed the point of the post.

      To march in a parade to only appear as “normal” does rather defeat the point. You have variation, from the military, the police and other establishements, along with the wilder, more extravagant side of gay life.

      As I explained, I used to find it confusing why anyone would just flaunt or show how different they are, as though it’s designed to cause offence and alienation. However, by only appearing to reflect public norms doesn’t actually make the point. That would be Gay Plea For Acceptance instead of Gay Pride; “we’ll be good, we’ll conform, we’ll try to be as good as you straight folks as best we can.”

      This is my point. I do appreciate there can be some discomfort as a gay man or women when someone makes a nasty comment about a female impersonator, or when there’s a guy in a leather harness. But the comments are still made.

      There was a wide differention between all of those groups in the parade, and it was as much about the spectacle as anything else, but it would be inaccurate to not have those sections of the gay community that are very real to join in the parade.

    • zefrog said,

      Hey Paul,

      Have you seen images of say the Rio Carnival? people are not exactly dressed “normally” there and most of them are straight. Also all the shenanigans going on during that carnival (including murders) are not exactly “normal” behaviour, are they? Yet no one is blaming these on the sexuality of the participant?

      Pride is about letting go and expressing oneself. it is about affirmation and people should be able to do so however they want.

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