Robert Hampton

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3rd August 2012

Countdown to Pride: Oh, just some general comments
Posted by at 10.04pm | Gay, Liverpool | No responses

It’s nearly here! Tomorrow at noon the Liverpool Pride march sets off from St George’s Hall, leading in to an afternoon of fun and frolics as Liverpool’s gay community and its allies take over the Pier Head and Stanley Street for the day.

The Liverpool Echo is appealing for photos, and you can guess which ones are likely to appear in Monday’s paper: yes, among the thousands of people at the event, there will be the outlandish ones: bondage fans wearing leather chaps, men wearing dresses, other men wearing very little at all (although last year it was a bit too chilly for that).

There are complaints from some quarters (see this comment piece on Pink News, for example) that Pride is doing more harm than good. While colourful floats, thumping dance music and rainbow-draped sexuality is a lot of fun, pictures of hedonists and drag queens don’t really do much for the image of LGBT people, especially when the battle for equality is not yet won. I respectfully disagree. While I appreciate and share the desire to appear “normal”, I don’t believe that Pride is “harming” the ongoing campaign for equality in any significant way.

Let’s be honest: the people who tut disapprovingly at Pride events are not usually fans of the gays anyway. Does Cardinal Keith O’Brien distinguish between the gay leather fetishist and the gay smartly-dressed accountant, when he describes their relationships as “grotesque”? When Brian Souter poured huge amounts of his personal wealth into campaigns against the abolition of Section 28, he wasn’t specifically targeting the twinks parading with glitter in their hair and tight Speedos – he despised us all equally. Peter Bone will still think that gay marriage is “completely nuts”, even if the two women involved are smartly-dressed suburban Daily Mail readers.

So, my advice to anyone celebrating Pride tomorrow: get out there, enjoy it and wear whatever you want, whether that’s a leather thong or a sailor suit or (gasp) jeans and t-shirt. To quote a wise man: “If we’re going to be damned, let’s be damned for who we really are.”