Brighton Girl Talks: "What Brighton Pride Means To Me"
Brighton is often thought of as the LGBT+ capital of the UK and Brighton’s annual Pride festival is regarded as one of the best. The organisation states that its‘ sole ethos is to promote tolerance, diversity, inclusion and education within our communities and to fight against all forms of LGBT+ discrimination. The event is also non-profit and funds from tickets go back into running the event itself, as well as being donated to charities such as the Rainbow Fund. This self-declared Pride with a purpose that is undeniably important to the LGBT+ community Brighton and the UK as a whole. It’s this vibrant and fearlessly queer presence in the city which attracted me to the area so much in the first place. It’s now one of the reasons why I’m so proud to call Brighton my new home.
As a pansexual woman, the idea of living in a city as tolerant and queer-friendly as Brighton sounded amazing, so when I got a place at Sussex University I was thrilled that I’d soon be able to call Brighton my home. The fact that it has such a large Pride festival and generally promotes tolerance and equality means so much to me and so many other LGBT+ individuals I’ve met at University. However I’ve also found that often the purpose of Pride is misunderstood by many.
An argument that I’ve frequently heard is that Pride is just a celebration of being gay and therefore, if we truly believed in equality, heterosexuality should be celebrated in this fashion as well. I’ve also heard that we shouldn’t make such a ‘big deal’ about being queer as when we label ourselves as such it gives others something to use against us. I find these views incredibly problematic and I think the underlying issue is that those who take these stand points simply don’t understand the purpose of Pride in the first place.
I’m sure that different people value Pride for different reasons and it’s unlikely to mean the same thing to everyone, but, to me, Pride is not a celebration of being a member of the LGBT+ community, but a celebration of tolerance and of love. In no way should Pride be seen as discriminatory against heterosexuality as I see its purpose to be promotion of equal love. However the reason that there is no ‘straight pride’ event is because Pride is about making a statement; a statement highlighting our right to exist and to love who we want without being discriminated against on any level and seeing as straight, cisgender individuals are not subjected to prejudice as a result of their sexual identity, there really is no need to hold a ‘straight pride’ celebration.
Pride to me is about making a stand and demanding our right to embrace our identities without fear of discrimination or violence and spreading tolerance of individuals of all sexualities and gender identities that differ from what is considered the norm and are therefore all too often subjected to intolerance. It is not to attack the heterosexual community, but to stress that we deserve the same freedoms. Of course Pride is also about having fun, providing a safe space for LGBT+ people and raising money and awareness for a good cause.
Brighton Pride 2018 will be my first ever Pride and I’m so glad that I live in a city which hosts such a spectacular event every year, and supports equality regardless of sexuality. As a queer individual, Pride is so important to me, and I know how important it is to the rest of the LGBT+ community in Brighton and at Sussex University. Pride is a key tool in progression towards equality, and I hope that it continues to be.
All quotes and information about the event from the Pride website.
This opinion piece is written By Rachel S.D.B
Read her blog here
Photography by Pippa
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