A Deeper Love?

Note: the words in this post are from anonymous Worthing Pride attendees – not from the people in the images.

Pride In Worthing!

One week since Worthing’s 2nd Pride. Over 2000 people like the Fb page. 4000 tickets to the park issued. Around 25000 people were part of, or around, the event. Might this just be another great day out? Is Pride meaningful these days? WoBy asked around a bit.

I remember the trauma of growing up in a Catholic school and never once seeing a single brother or sister. It was very very lonely and isolating, plus there was also all the abuse and bullying – same as a lot of queer people experience. I’m 19 and still working through what it left me with. I think it’s gonna take time to get rid of the self-hate, you know? Now that we can also celebrate pride and unity between gay and other marginalised people, it is beautiful to see. A hero? – Travis Albanza.

Jax Jacki Brown – disability and queer rights activist
Photo: Marina Bonofiglio

I grew up in a rural part of Sussex, in the 1970s. I knew I liked the girls, but I never knew you could have a girlfriend. I’d never even heard the word ‘lesbian’. I got married, had kids, only found out there were other people like me when I was over 30. Sometimes I regret not being able to have those memories of being out and happy when I was young. Hopefully, it’s not like that these days for the teens. A Hero? – Ellen Degeneres

Buck Angel, trans-activist (image from his public FB page)

High School Nightmares

It would be lovely to see more young people at Pride – people think things have changed, but they really haven’t. High school is still a nightmare. Looking at other people at Pride, slightly younger than me, you could see that they were still timid, self conscious and afraid. That was me, 5 years ago. Hero? Elton John his journey is a true survivor’s and it speaks to us all.

People who are straight often see high school as the best years of their life, but if you’re gay or trans- it’s the worst. Still now.  Hero? Courtney Act

People who are straight often see high school as the best years of their life, but if you’re gay or trans – it’s the worst.

I was at an all-girls school where there was so much gossip and joking about ‘lezbe friends’ and which unmarried teachers were labelled ‘dirty lez’. There was a girl on the hockey team who was out – everyone despised her. No way did I want to be labelled like that, so I kept quiet, had boyfriends, acted ‘normal’. I used to spend so much time worrying about what was wrong with me, how I got like this, what had happened to me to make me like this. Now I know how daft those worries were. London Pride back in 1982 was my first. I never looked back after that. Hero? Buck Angel!

Negative images and tragic tales feed self-hatred

I remember normalising homophobic abuse and slurs while I was at high school and realising only after I left that I do not have to be treated in that way. For instance, when I was in my first job, at a coffee shop, someone called me ‘faggot’, and my work team were shocked, but I wasn’t. Then I realised how much I had normalised it and just learnt to put up with it. This is my 3rd Pride and I love that it’s in my home town. Hero? Marsha P Johnson.

The Queer Alternative – works with queers in subcultures

Corporate Pride, Assimilationism

I got disillusioned with London And Brighton Pride when they got so corporate, and also with the movement when people like Peter Tatchell started driving wedges between groups, the whole white man saviourism thing. Then, all that ‘gay marriage’ assimilationism thing too. I got out then. Sick of it. People who’ve been marginalised suddenly leaping to get mainstreamed and marginalising their fellow queers. To the point of open racism and anti- trans-violence. What? I mean, really – what? But now we’ve got the ‘L with the T‘ movement, we’ve got the progress flag, we’ve got a bit of consciousness going on, and we’re reclaiming real histories of BME and trans folk who kick-started the struggles. I just feel like it’s a moment to come back and be part of it. The Progress Flag has made a difference for me, in how I see the movement and can feel included. It’s not just cis-white gays having glam weddings – at a grassroots, we can now recognise our diversity, it’s like we’re really growing into it and growing up now. Hero? Mmmmm, so many. Maybe Alok.

It can’t just be cis-white gays having glam weddings

Nando Messias ‘Sissy’s Progress‘ performance – recuperating & healing
Photo: Loredana Denicola.

While the main event gathered in the crowds and made the news, tons of smaller satellite events (like the Queer Jubilee Street Party and the irrepressible Brooksteed’s all-day party) turned Pride into a whole weekend. FB groups are building new emergent networks. Charities working in the community are getting funds and raised profiles.

Not a single event, then, and certainly no single experience, but plenty of possibilities for raising awareness, embedding attitude shift, having conversations, making alliances – and feeling safe.

Published by Caroline

After 30 years as an academic anthropologist doing ethnography in India and the Gulf, Caroline now avoids airports and spends a lot of time walking, cycling or quad skating around for conversations and stories in their adopted home of Worthing. Caroline does public sector consultancy work and project evaluation, using creative research methods. Caroline also writes. Find them on Substack at https://substack.com/@carolineosella. (Yes, there's a WIP and yes, it's a campus novel, but hang on - it's not a memoir, and it's not a thinly-disguised writeup of people and situations. I studied creative writing, trained, practiced and ** made it all up**).

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