I had the pleasure of watching a little seaside town in the South East of England host its first ever Pride celebration! Beyond excited, I scooped up the kids when school finished and we were off on a mini holiday!
The morning of, we awoke to partly sunny skies with chances of rain. This didn’t stop us from pulling out the stops though. I was wearing my bright teal dress rain or shine! After a quick “pride celebrations” search on the internet to show the kids what to expect, some breakfast and rearrange of my flower crown, we were off!
I was quick to notice the lack of signage for where to go but thought this might be because we weren’t near the procession route. The bus ride from home to the seaside was 15 minutes and apart from one person wearing a pride flag, we saw nothing! Even getting lost and jumping on another bus, no one seemed to know about it. I got worried that either we came on the wrong day or it was some kind of joke. The journey to the route wasn’t obvious nor was it advertised. We eventually found the modest park that was hosting the event and a sign saying “Pride”. We found it! Prying the kids away from the rainbows, we made it to the procession route where I could hardly contain my excitement! This was a historical moment!
As the procession came closer I became very aware that many people present didn’t know what was going on nor what to expect. I could hear the drums coming closer and I geared my kids up ready to welcome the procession! Whooping, clapping, and cheering, along with a few jumps for good measure, I was the loudest person there. I sensed many were either annoyed at my noise or embarrassed by it. The drummers were fantastic, the Roller Derby league skated around handing out flyers and flags, and the moving moment when the LGBT community and their families proudly paraded the route with dignity. We cheered, danced and high fived much to the annoyance of the people on either side of us.
As we made our way back to the park and shopped around at the stalls I was overwhelmed by the vibe and excitement I could feel in the air. Everyone in the park was in the spirit and supportive. Then the rain came! Literally! Having not packed an umbrella, we decided that maybe a pizza and a cuppa would hit the spot and we would come back for some music!
Then it happened.
As my children came around the corner to walk up the path along the seaside, they were greeted by protesters who were quiet, peaceful and were just there to make their point. No harm was done, no fowl. I ferried them along further up the path as the rain was about to pelt and I didn’t want their face paint to get ruined and risk a meltdown. My daughter wandered slightly ahead and was stopped by a woman handing out flyers. I didn’t think anything of this until I was within range of hearing her speak.
I respect people’s right to an opinion and a right to privacy so I will not quote what she said nor will I mention the name of the group she was representing.
I was very upset that this lady cornered my daughter then made her feel as though she had done something wrong by attending Pride. I handed her flyer back to her, politely said “we don’t need this” and moved my children on.
I made it a point to explain to all of them that there was nothing they did that was wrong and to not think about what that lady was saying. We made it to the restaurant in time for the rain and enjoyed our pizza!
I want to make it clear to our readers that in no way am I about to bash or trash any religion, group, or organisation. That’s not my style. But I will say that anyone who takes an aggressive approach to making their point, especially to or in front of children, needs to step back and take a look. Whatever it is that you believe is right or wrong does not give you the right to use force on anyone. I struggle to believe that in 2017, a time when we are making advances in tech, environment, medicines and treatments, we still struggle to accept there are those out there who don’t share the same view. Whatever it is. I was born into a church, I read the books, the scripts, the lessons. I understand. But what I also understand is I was born with a freethinking mind. It was the way I was made. I, like everyone have the right to question things I don’t understand. I can make choices that are right for me, not because I was being made to but because I want to. You should follow who and what you want to not because you were born into it but because you are inspired to be the best person you can be. Surely across the board that’s a standard rule? To love each other, to respect that others might live different or act different. This doesn’t mean you will get them on side by force. I think that whatever, whoever you believe in, a little tolerance never hurt anyone. You might not like it but is it really going to ruin your day?
Ted: I think God appreciates it even more. Because he created you in his image. At least that's what I was always taught. And since God is love and God doesn't make mistakes, then you must be exactly the way he wants you to be. And that goes for every person, every planet, every mountain, every grain of sand, every song, every tear... and every faggot. We're all his, Emmett. He loves us all.
DeAnna’s (Blue Chameleon blog series) Focuses on rebuilding self-confidence after suffering through difficult times. DeAnna lives in Cambridge, England with her family, cats and dog. She credits a portion of happiness to her partner, Pete, punctuation manager, chief tea maker, and bringer of toast.