This weekend, it is Liverpool Pride. There are plenty of activities and many businesses and our local authority support the occasion. For many years, my hometown didn’t have a Pride event and we were very much in the shadow of the capital and even our seemingly more sophisticated sister city, Manchester. I remember Liverpool’s first Pride event back in the early 1990s which was more of a village fête. I won a first aid kit for guessing the correct amount of condoms in the glass jar! I think there can’t have been more than 100 people there and it was so low key that few people remember it today.
A few years back, as LGBT issues were becoming mainstream and even the Tories were beginning to switch to the side of equality, things began to get a lot more organised. That small village fête blossomed into a majestic city-wide event, with an open air festival, a march through the town centre and all sorts of other connected activities. It’s a big deal now and it is marketed to everyone as a fun, family day out. This is a marketing tactic I first saw when I went to Sydney Mardi Gras about a decade ago.
As equality is increasingly won in the houses of parliament and lords, and attitudes slowly evolve, this event becomes less about defiantly declaring ones queerness and more about celebrating the journey and history that got us to this point. Referencing this local history and activism, I was asked if a campaign message I devised in the 1980s for an HIV/AIDS campaign could be resurrected for the occasion. Love and Passion, still in fashion is a timeless message and one that I would hope will stay true forever. I was happy for Sahir House to march under this message, so designed them a banner that they can be proud of.
Whenever you see Gay Pride mentioned in the media, you generally see curmudgeonly comments from people asking why this is still needed? We’ve got equal marriage, we can adopt children and we can even join the army. There is no Straight Pride so why should there be a Gay Pride? To quote something I read…
Gay Pride was not born of a need to celebrate being gay, but our right to exist without persecution. So, instead of wondering why there isn’t a Straight Pride movement, be thankful you don’t need one.