As I write this, I am on the comedown from Liverpool Pride – one of the best Prides I have been to.
Make no mistake, I am a ‘Pride Veteran’ of almost 20 years now, having first gone to Pride in London (or Mardi Gras as it was called at the time) in 1999. So, as I reflect on what made this year so special, the following are featuring strongly:
- The Bishop of Liverpool publicly declaring that being LGBT wasn’t a sin and apologising for all the harm done by churches
- The huge numbers who turned out to march and watch us march
- Reading my poem out in the Garden Tent as part of Writing on the Wall’s ‘What’s Your World Pride Story?’
- Volunteering for St Brides on the ‘We Are Family’ Sunday.
For me, there is a common thread running through all four of these: community.
It is probably no coincidence that the parts of Sparkle (The National Transgender Celebration), I enjoyed the most were also listed under their ‘Community’ section. For me, that was the Manchester Concorde Open Mic night, and the comedy night at TriBecca… but there was much more forming their week of community events.
Feeling like I belong to one or more communities is incredibly enriching. I only have to remember how alone and depressed I was before I felt I belonged somewhere.
However, it’s no use communities existing only as a concept. ‘The LGBT+ Community’, for example, becomes apparent as a concept when you try to define exactly what it is.
Communities need to be real and solid things that you can identify where and how you get involved with them. That could be a church like St Brides, an organisation like Writing on the Wall, a bar like The Lisbon or, indeed, In-Trust itself. Merseyside is lucky to have so much on offer.
I also strongly believe that its no use communities hiding away and/or being unwelcoming cliques. That doesn’t help those new to discovering themselves, a town or a city find and feel part of a community.
This is why I believe, for me personally, the march is the strongest selling point of Pride events – they’re in your face and anyone can be part of it. It’s a real shame that (unlike their counterparts, Trans Pride Brighton), Sparkle haven’t yet embraced marches as part of the weekend’s activities. Maybe one day…
However, I feel the best bit of being part of a community – and the reason why I have titled this piece ‘Pride In My Community’ – is that it allows me to find pride in myself and my community. I can look back at an event such as Liverpool Pride and take great pride in what I and my community have accomplished.
Article written by Claire Hornby, 31st July 2017