Portsmouth Pride was pretty amazing! It was the first Pride event I have attended in person, but it will not be the last!
There were a few special moments for me.
1. Overall the atmosphere and environment that was created. There was happiness, acceptance, respect, it was AMAZING!
2. Hearing a number of performers and speakers talk about why Pride is important. There are still inequalities here, but we are fortunate in ways many others are not. There was recognition that we are making changes that should be seen as improving our societies and cultures, not as just making space for other people (I have massively paraphrased there, no one said those exact words haha).
3. Seeing someone face-timing their friend who was sat at home watching the show.
The Pride march started at South Parade Pier and led around to the Bandstand in Southsea. It is a very short walk, which maybe made it possible for more people to participate.
There was a positive response from people walking or driving passed. Which was great... but I was left feeling that this would likely not always be the response given to someone or a group dressed the way some were. It is a sad but true fact that there is still so much disrespect, contempt, even hatred towards members of the LGBT community. It is important that people recognise the importance of Pride. It's not just 'an event' it should be a reminder to many. My personal thoughts are that some should remember the other 364 days of the year that the LGBT community is cool as fuck and the individuals within the community deserve our respect all the time, not just at Pride.
Some may have noticed there was a big change this year with Portsmouth Pride being much smaller than last year (I saw and read about last year online). Honestly though this felt more like a 'Pride' event to me, rather than just another event or a music concert. I loved it.
Many of the acts had local ties, helping to create that feeling this was an event for and by Portsmouth (with a little help from Brighton, Bognor, Chichester and London).
There seemed to be loads of families and I was blown away by how many under 20's were there. I would guess 13-18 was the most popular age group. I am not sure if this means anything, but I like to think its because new generations are growing up in a more inclusive world and so feel more free to express themselves and to support their friends.
There was a nice mixture of support services in attendance too, along with food, drink and other exhibitors. I was very please to see the LAGLOs, Time to Change and NHS there, not just because I have worked with them myself, but especially because of the age of so many attending the event. Its so important that everyone feels able to talk to someone about whats going on and these 3 services, I believe, are vital to all of us. However in my mind (I could be wrong) someone within the LGBT community maybe less aware of the support available to them because of the added stigma or concern about revealing their sexuality or gender identity when asking for information or support. So it was great to see them there.
I really enjoyed Portsmouth Pride, to me it was a wonderful inclusive celebration of diversity and love. I hope those that continued to the after party at Hampshire Boulevard had a great time. In fact, I am writing this while they dance the night away.
It was nice to spend a little time this afternoon not taking photos or video and just sitting on the hill to enjoy the entertainment. Sat amongst couples, groups of friends, families and people there on their own. When I spoke to the Pride Team before the event they said "Pride is not only for the LGBTQ+ community, we aim to create a safe space for everyone regardless of age, gender, sexuality, race and disability. We are incredibly proud of Portsmouth and we want to showcase this" (more on the pre Pride talk here). Well, I think they achieved that.
I loved the non conformity. People dressed as they wanted, acted as they wanted and that was respected and embraced. Yes, I loved it!
Massive congratulations to everyone involved in making Portsmouth Pride possible (and a success), and I look forward to seeing you all next year... if not before.