It has recently been Pride in Hull, and we had the distinguished opportunity for being the first ever UK Pride, all making this Pride the biggest we have had in this city! I have been gearing up for Pride this year, most years I haven’t made much of a fuss, but this year was different. Over the last 12 months, I have evolved into this more aware being, someone who is more aware of the injustices we face and have faced, and thus has lead me down a path that has seen me change as a person, and Pride, this first Pride for me this year, was the perfect place to be this new me.
For the first time ever, I was accompanied by family, as well as local friends and friends from out of town. It was a unique opportunity in itself; not only celebrating with family, but also showcasing what Hull had to offer to people from out of town. To me, however, the most special thing, was having my niece there. She’s 8, and it is important for children, for the next generation, to understand that we have this place of love, and that this should be extended beyond just one day.
So, the day began with the parade, that was definitely bigger than most years, featuring the local Fire Brigade, Police and NHS (who got the biggest cheer out of the lot), as well as local Labour councillors, support groups, and more. The whole thing though, was preceded by Duckie’s 50 Queers for 50 Years, celebrating some of the local, national and global icons of Queer culture. It was a sight to behold, as each marched out amongst the crowds, leading around the city centre. I wasn’t in the parade (although I could have been), but speaking to friend who were, they said the support they got was overwhelming, as crowds lined the streets and cheered everyone on.
To be fair, many people look down on Hull as being this horrible place, and whilst City of Culture 2017 status has afforded us a little bit of a better reputation around the country, a true testament should have been the crowds that appeared at Pride. There was no trouble, no shooting, jeering, or any negativity. When people from out of town have visited, they say they are overwhelmed by the friendliness of the local people, willing to help people out if they look lost, but what is really overwhelming is that even though we only usually have a day to be ourselves completely safely, this city is welcoming to all. We are here for one another, and whilst you get a minority who will shout out slurs from passing cars, those who walk the streets with you, are less likely to shout anything out to you, because they are friendly, and supportive.
Pride this year had the theme of Through The Decades, and it certainly did that, having Marc Almond, Sonia, B*Witched, Cleopatra and Courtney Act on stage, as well as local talent. From start to finish, it spoke to the generation above me, my own generation, and the next.
A gathering of a friends wouldn’t be a gathering of friends without me going over the top a little though. With a total of 6 people in my house over the weekend (and my house isn’t that big), I tried to make it as welcoming, as gay, and as fun as possible. From homemade rainbow cake, to colourless skittles, and then Geraint the Gay Gnome, with added extras such as a homemade diamond piñata, pizza night and a collection of Lego mini figures, I tried to make Pride in Ted’s House a weekend long fun fest. Maybe I went a little overboard with how much I filled the piñata with, and my insistence that people take home their Lego mini figures, but at the end of the day, this is just what I do.
But there’s one thing that people can not deny that happened this Pride in Hull, the city, all my family and friends, myself included all raised our rainbow and showed that being who we are, and supporting those who belong to our community, is the way forward. Even when the clouds loom, when people try to take our lives away from us, when they try to take our choices, and our freedom, there are those of us who will fight, who will be visible, to show the world that we do exist. That no matter where you fall under the Queer umbrella, you belong to this community, you belong in this world and that we will never crumble under the pressure to hide. Raise Your Rainbow.