My London Pride
This year I joined London Pride not with either of the parade’s bi groups but as the only visibly bi member of the fabulous GLAM (Galleries, Libraries, Archives, Museums) walking group.
This was the first time I’d been to a Pride not as a spectator or with other bi activists but with colleagues. I have been to countless Prides but never in a work capacity.
Waiting for the parade to start we chatted Museums and Queerness – Queer is often used in Museums to describe historical people as we usually don’t know how they would have identified themselves. New friendships were made- many including myself had travelled alone to join GLAM from all over the country -for some it was the first time they’d found another Queer Museums person to speak to. Faces were painted with glitter, hair and beards were decorated. There were many images of bisexual artist Frieda Khalo (go and see the exhibition at the V&A on until 4th November*).
Walking the Pride route GLAM was cheered by a lot of the public many of whom called out Museum names as they recognised their favourite museums in the parade- this wasn’t just about us celebrating this was about Queer members of the public being able to see the themselves represented in the institutions they love. It was a long hot walk spurred on by the public encouragement and joyful atmosphere we danced and laughed our way to the end of the parade.
I saw a lot of young people with bi & Pan flags and a lot of them cheered & high fived me at seeing bi inclusion in the parade.
After the parade many of the GLAM lot made their way to the south bank centre where in the cool of the downstairs hall we crashed out and had drinks.
Later in the afternoon I made my way along the south bank to Westminster where I joined the end of the bi Picnic in St James Park. Lovely relaxed gathering crashed out on the grass which was exactly what I needed after walking so far, it was great to meet the bi Pride team and hear about their plans and to acquire one of their badges which has now been donated to the British Museum collection – increasing bi representation in Museum collections.
To be able to celebrate together two of the most important elements of my life with passionate accepting Museums geeks was inspiring and left me motivated to continue to bring my full self to work.
I’d encourage all of you to get involved with your workplace LGBT networks (even if as with GLAM they are national rather than specific to your workplace) and if one doesn’t yet exist set one up!
Meeting up with others of the same intellectual understanding in a Pride context had more of an impact on me than I could ever have imagined. Step out of your comfort zones of attending Pride with your usual friends.
I left London feeling supported and supportive of others having experienced a level of camaraderie I’d never before felt in a work context. I didn’t notice any biphobia and felt safe the whole day even, still obviously decked in Pride attire, on the late night train home north.
Thankfully most people further back in the parade were not aware of the issues caused by the handful of women who chose to disrupt the start with their horrible anti trans rhetoric until the parade was over. The parade felt a bit slow to start but the atmosphere was great. My overall impression of London Pride was of a well run inclusive event. I hope the actions of the small disruptive group won’t put people off joining in in future. Having been in the parade and felt the level of positivity I was surprised at the level of press focus on the actions of 8 women as opposed to the focus being on the successful peaceful trans inclusive parade of over 30,000 people through our capital city.
Thank you to those who made GLAM happen this year, I’ll be joining you again. I’m also looking forward to seeing the development of bi Pride.
* www.vam.ac.uk/exhibitions/ frida-kahlo-making-her-self-up