Last week was the first time I had ever attended a Pride event in my life. To be honest, I knind of feel a little ashamed saying that. Despite not figuring out I’m trans until I was into my twenties I’ve known I’m Pansexual since my early teens, yet in all that time I’d never been to a large scale LGBT+ event in order to celebrate that fact. Despite being a little nervous about what to expect I grabbed my trans flag, slung it over my shoulders like a cape and set off for a day of festivities.
Norwich didn’t disappoint. Not only was the pride event itself full of happy and helpful organisations, people willing to chat and make friends, and more rainbows then the senses could handle, but it seemed like the whole of Norwich itself was in the mood to celebrate LGBT+ spirit. From local coffee shops such as Mustards Coffee Bar (which had an amazing rainbow cake by the way), National Banks like Halifax, International chains like Starbucks and even the City Council Chambers were decked out in rainbow flags and messages of support.
That’s what struck me most about the whole thing, the big community spirit that the event encouraged. So many people were their to make friends and celebrate the diversity of the LGBT+ community, event staff and stall holders, attendees, even passersby in the street. Other than one lone man with a crucifix who tried to protest the parade before being surrounded by supporters and drowned out their was no one around who tried to make any kind of trouble at all.
For someone who came from a fairly small town where I couldn’t walk through the streets without having abuse or threats shouted at me this positivity was somewhat alien to me. But it was a good thing. I’m not isolated, I know that theirs a larger LGBT+ community out there, just the fact that I’m writing this article for people to read shows that I’m a part of that community even in a small way, but actually seeing that community in person, being their and feeling it, that was something amazing.
Pride is important for this reason, it helps you to know that you’re not alone. Even if you’re active on line, or at a local group being part of the LGBT+ community can be incredibly lonely. Even when you’re surrounded by people you can feel completely isolated. Even on my best days I sometimes feel that way. Pride helped me with that.
It didn’t matter if you were gay, lesbian, trans, pansexual, gender fluid, bisexual or straight, if you were a part of the community or a supporter than you were accepted, you were amongst friends and you were safe. That feeling of being part of a larger whole has never been stronger for me than since my first Pride. Obviously I knew that there were other LGBT+ people out their, but I never felt it before.
If you’ve never been to a Pride event before then please, try to go along to one. It doesn’t matter if you LGBT+ or not, if you believe in the cause or you need encouragement that you’re not alone in the world, that their are other people who understand and accept you then go along. Pride events are important not just to celebrate our diversity and show the world how amazing we are, they’re also their to help the community too.
I know one thing, I’m definitely going to more Pride events in the future, and I can’t wait until my next one.