This year I recruited Alex to organise the bi presence at Derbyshire Pride since I heard he was coming and had connection to the city. I came along too to help. We met friends at the parade start and had a successful day.
Bisexuals have been represented at all of the Pride events so far in Derby. We haven’t yet found Derby bis wanting to do this so it tends to be a bit of an early start for those of us who come in from the surrounding area or involves staying over. Derby bisexuals, where are you?
We have a Pride pack in a trolley which is a bit of a lug but I find it quite reasonable to get on and off trains and roll across town. Thanks to BiCon, the Bisexual Index and Bi Community News for leaflets, postcards and stickers. The only thing I think we are missing is more ways of holding down papers in the wind. Toy figures of famous bisexuals and bi characters perhaps?
Stall setup was quick and then we took our banner to the start of the parade where we ran into friends. The parade consisted of a couple of floats and a small walking group. We had the only banner as far as I saw. An enthusiastic young man got busy giving out the “Is this what a bisexual looks like?” stickers from the Bisexual Index.
The parade headed through Derby city centre through mostly friendly folks looking at the spectacle. I hope as we keep doing these things it will become a well known celebration rather than something people stare at in incomprehension or surprise. It felt good to get a thumbs up from the local anti-racist stall.
There was a small counter-demonstration from a Muslim group. I never felt in any danger from them with stewards, registered security and police there. I just smiled: it wasn’t really a time and place conducive to constructive dialogue. In some ways, having opposition out in the open shows why Pride is still relevant. I think they should have every right to express their opinions.
I didn’t like the fact that the parade was pretty much white people like me and the demonstration was people of colour. I was worried about us getting into the mindset that LGBT people and Muslims and people of colour are always in opposition. I want Pride to be welcoming to LGBT people and our friends, including those who are black or of minority ethnicities and including all religions and none.
The best response to Christian demonstrations in London in my opinion has been for them to be clearly outnumbered by LGBT and LGBT affirmative Christians on the march. I’d like to see more Asians with us and for LGBT Muslims (culturally and/or religiously) to feel at home in all parts of their identity. I am unsure how to help make this happen and look forward to learning more.
The festival was set up in a wide area which could take large numbers without looking crowded. We had a steady stream of visitors to the stall and gave out many stickers and postcards. I liked telling people I’d seen at previous Pride events in the city that BiCon would be local this year and hearing back that they had already booked. As for the last few years, there were many young people pleased to see us.
With a couple of us there we both had chance to wander around the other stalls, listen to whatever was on stage, grab snacks / friends etc. and catch up with each other. One of the useful things I’ve learned at events is how good contacts from organisations are who can then take our resources to a wider group of people (and we theirs).
Overall it was a long day but also an easy and friendly one and I’d recommend helping at a Pride event. If we hadn’t have been there, there would have been perhaps a flag and badge on one stall available specifically for bisexuals and perhaps a flag in the crowd and otherwise we would have been pretty much invisible even though I number of attendees said they were bi.
Why don’t we see more bisexuals out and proud at Pride events? Am I just weird for thinking it important enough to at least show up wearing a badge or T-shirt or something?