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If Pride’s taught us anything, it’s that we should all be true to ourselves

Pride Brighton and Hove is probably one of the most important LGBTQIA+ Pride events in the UK, if not the world. We’re now living in a society with – at least the illusion of – equality, although we still need to go a long way. However, as we all know, it hasn’t always been this way. It wasn’t just that members of the community didn’t have the right to marry members of the same gender, it seemed almost like some thought that they didn’t have the right to even exist.

A darker past

Pride has always been political, born out of a time where it was simply and sadly unacceptable in the eyes of society and the law to be your true self. The first Gay Pride event generally was held all the way back in 1970 in New York. By 1972, the idea had reached London. And by 1973, members of the local community here in Brighton and Hove were taking their opportunity to be proud of who they were openly.

The whole affair was a lot smaller than it is now. The Sussex Gay Liberation Front were doing an incredibly brave thing for their time – just seven years earlier, people could go to jail for being homosexual in private, let alone literally parading their identities in the street. Although, despite the smaller numbers, there was still a dance at the Royal Albion Hotel.

Sadly, the whole thing disappeared again until the ’90s. In 1991, it resurfaced out of need. The government had passed an abhorrent bill which prohibited the “promotion” of homosexuality. There was a DIY picnic of sorts that happened around Preston Park. Over the four years that followed, parties continued, rallying against a largely homophobic public – and press. 

Pride today

Pride in Brighton & Hove has evolved, and many of our readers and local – as well as not so local – residents will be preparing for an absolutely incredible day out. These days, there’s nothing quite like the atmosphere in what is often renowned as the UK’s most gay-friendly city at the UK’s best Pride celebration! Since the ’90s, the parade, park and partying theme has remained strong.

This year’s celebrations are going to be even more inclusive and fantastic than ever before. Between August 3rd and 5th, there will be an abundance of different activities and events going on, as well as the support systems being offered to attendees. No matter who you have to be in your day-to-day life, at Pride, everyone’s welcome.

Of course, Britney headlining the whole Pride Festival has done wonders for the event – Britney’s a bit of a gay icon, after all! But aside from her performance, there’s also lots more music to look forward to! Ella Eyre and Pixie Lott among countless other artists, in addition to performances from local acts, street performers, dancers and so much more. 

There’s even a theme. This year it’s “Colour My World” which deals with the rainbow flag and the eight colours within it (the typical rainbow, plus pink at the top) and what they represent. These are sexuality, life, healing, sun, nature, art, harmony, and spirit. The colours not only remind us of the components that make up all we love about life, but also all the different things that make up the community – the diversity and intersectionality. The parade will take this theme with its many fabulous floats, as will the parties.

The events are accessible, family friendly, and open to all. Apart from the over-18s club events, of course!

What does Pride mean for LGBTQIA+ dating?

Quite simply put, Pride is the power to regain control of your love life. No matter who you are, you don’t have to hide your true self at Pride. 

These days we have an abundance of ways to find our true loves – whether that’s for a lifetime or just for tonight! Let’s face it, relationships can be tough no matter who you are, but there’s an inherent privilege in not having to worry about what people might think or the discrimination you might face.

The advent of Pride and its integration into mainstream culture has helped more people to feel free to publicly love who they love. You can find a date in a gay bar like The Bulldog, Bar Revenge or The Marlborough, using apps for a quick meet up or even when looking for something long term, by using a dating site like Badoo. People are far more likely to be upfront about who they’re looking for these days, as the stigma is starting to deteriorate. On their dating profiles, for example, they may feel comfortable about opening up to what and who they’re into in bed. Pride helps people to feel comfortable with who they are, and this trickles down into the way that society sees members of the community. 

While nobody is saying that the issues LGBTQIA+ people face have gone away (there’s certainly a lot of work to do, particularly when it comes to trans rights and acceptance), these barriers are gradually being broken down and making the world feel like a lot more of a colourful – and accepting – place. 

Pride continues to push on different issues affecting the community year after year, which makes reaching these goals a whole lot more attainable. While Section 28 (banning the discussion of LGBTQIA+ issues in schools) was repealed in 2003 nationwide, and gay marriage became a right in 2014, there are still long ways to go. There has been a shocking rise in anti-gay and transphobic hate crimes in the last couple of years, and many people still face discrimination. Even the fact that people are still afraid of the consequences of coming out means we still have a long way to go!

Of course, what Pride cannot do is solve everything. We cannot become lazy and say that because Brighton and Hove and other areas of the UK and the world are now so loving and accepting, all of the problems have gone away. Pride is fun, but everything it stands for goes way beyond a party, and this is something that all attendees should have to appreciate. 

What can Pride teach us about dating in general?

Okay, here’s one thing that’s for sure – while Pride can be celebrated by allies, it is of course not for them and they need to understand this. However, there have been many incidences in the past where even those identifying as straight have been denied the right to be with the one that they love. In 2018, this is simply unacceptable (although sadly not completely unheard of).

Shameful parts of our collective history have told us who we can and can’t date. Whether this has meant not being able to form relationships with those of different cultures or genders, different religious beliefs or those from other races, there’s been a lot of people dictating who we can and can’t form intimate relationships with, and even enshrining such prejudices into law.

Pride teaches everyone that we need to cast our prejudices aside. These unfortunately do still exist within the community, but Pride is for everyone. For people of every gender, every sexuality, every ability, and every race. There is no room for hatred within that, or it’s all void. Pride is about making sure everyone is represented, everyone has a voice, and everyone is shown respect.

We deserve to be loved for who we are. And while we all have preferences, we should always treat others with empathy and care.

Who should we be and how should we be dating?

Only you know the answer to that. Love who you love, it’s that simple. Providing all parties are consenting adults, it really doesn’t matter. There’s such a spectrum of different answers to this question that there’s truly no one-size-fits-all approach. What works for some will not work for others, and all of us have different experiences or even aspects of privilege to bring to the table.

One of the important things is learning not to judge and keeping an open mind. Recognise that everyone is bringing their own baggage to a relationship and that anecdotal evidence is not actually evidence. For example, just because you have a gay friend whose parents accepted them from day one, it doesn’t mean that this is true for all. Or, just because you’re dating someone bisexual, this doesn’t mean that “they’re more likely to cheat”. There are a lot of stereotypes out there, you just can’t believe them at all!

Basically, just be yourself. If you’ve yet to encounter someone to love you for who you are, that person is out there. Don’t feel that you need to hide, there’s already been too much of that in the past. While there are unfortunately still many valid reasons why someone may feel they have to do so, Pride is somewhere where you can be who you were born to be. 

So now what’s left to say? Love is love is love. See you at Pride!

 

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