On the 15th September I attended my first ever Gay Pride in Portsmouth and it reaffirmed my belief that being seen is one of the most important things a queer person can do for the LGBT+ community.
As a relatively straight appearing bisexual female, it’s been a bit of a struggle to get my identity out there, only worsened by the fact that I’ve been in relationships with guys since I first realised I wasn’t straight. No matter how many jokes or hints I’ve dropped, its always been a surprise to people I’ve told. My desire to be seen grew stronger as I came to university and I soon made it a significant part of my personality. However, came to realise that I had let it get too far and I was actually forcing it upon myself as opposed to just being myself.
“These groups do so much vital work in making individuals feel comfortable enough to be who they are”
Our identities are often dictated to us in that if you like a certain type of music or
sport or game, then you have to look and act a certain way. Look no further than the mean
girls analysis of the school canteen. Increasingly, the ‘queer’ group has become one of these
categories and, of course, we can’t always see much of ourselves in a stereotype.
There tends to be a bit of a cultural fear surrounding minority groups clubbing together with many
straight people, disliking any outward show of ‘queerness’ and condemning it as excessive.
But these groups do so much vital work in making individuals feel comfortable enough to be
who they are and Pride does the same thing but on a much larger scale.
Portsmouth Pride has only been happening for four years, yet a crowd of thousands turned out to join the party and parade along the seafront, making themselves known. It was so inspiring to see so many people collected in one space, all celebrating themselves. One subject that kept cropping up is noting how far we have come. I personally had a very smooth coming out process and
that is a privilege I received due to the hard work of my predecessors. So many people have
had, and will have, a hard time coming out to their family and friends. But it’s their bravery and
fearlessness to declare who they were despite the consequences that has paved the way for so
Is there really a need for Gay Pride? 100% YES. There are many instances where people
outside of the LGBT+ community disregard the need for Gay Pride as an unneeded excess
when society (in their opinion) is already equal. But having been there and seen the diverse
range of people in attendance and experiencing gay culture in action, it reminded me that
queer comes in all shapes and forms. There is no singular ‘Gay’ appearance, and as long as
you are doing you, nothing else matters.
A huge thanks goes to the organisers of Portsmouth Pride who did an amazing job which I know
meant so much to so many.
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