My Leicester Pride

Leicester LGBT Pride took place on Saturday 1st September 2018 and for a change I went along without any responsibilities.

Icycled into town past the Leicester City football fans and then Alcon anime cosplayers to the Pride march. I guess a queer cartoon mascot could have made all three events happily. The football club put up messages supporting Pride I’m told and there were fans and players groups at Pride in the park later.
On a hot sunny day the march and park numbers were higher than the organisers expected with many young people and many bisexual, pansexual and trans flags visible and some bi messages. I wore my Bi T-shirt from the Bisexual Index shop and a bi flag as a cape and a leather pride pin. I decided not to go with nipple clamps to hold the cape together.

We didn’t get any opposition that I noticed and wound our way around town past more bars and shops showing rainbows than I’ve seen previously. I was pleased to see the Unison union with bisexual flags flying since I remember the arguments over getting their L&G section to be more inclusive a number of years ago. I’ve also seen them promoting bi visibility day.

Pride is often my chance to greet and wave to friends I don’t see often and this year was no exception. I skipped the bag checking queues in favour of a friend’s book launch so missed what our local politicians had to say from the stage in Victoria Park. I didn’t get insulted from the stage as a bisexual nor by anyone else at the event, which I count as a win even if it is only hurdling a very low bar. One of the drag queens did the usual call out to Lesbians and to Gay men in the audience and then tacked on Bisexual and Trans as an afterthought which was better than nothing. A few of the stalls had bi flags and a few other bits for sale which is better than previous years. There wasn’t a bisexuality stall, tent, any acts that I know of or any bi specific stuff on stalls for organisations that I saw. This was sadly as expected as even in a city of around 300,000 people; if I or a very small number of bi people don’t make it happen then it doesn’t happen.

I was happy with the event as a whole, pleased it was free to attend and was happy to see the alcohol free music area for young people. My workplaces were represented as were some groups I support in the city such as Leicester Secular Society. I didn’t like the large on-duty police presence: I’d prefer them to only be there policing if called in by the Pride organisers if people in the community didn’t already deal with any problems and incidents were beyond what stewards and then paid security wanted to deal with. Riot shields to me are reminders of treating multiple head injuries, not a cute accessory even if painted as a trans flag carried by a cadet. I also am finding more recent Pride events a bit desexualised other than in performed parody in drag. I’ve been proud of being part of a movement positive about sex, for those who like that sort of thing and with a good understanding of consent. I’d like to see more snogging and more colourful dildos on sale.

I enjoyed my day overall and also being able to head home whenever I’d had enough. I met a friend who had recently come out as bi after a couple of decades knowing but not telling and it was good to share a moment of overwhelming happiness at being surrounded by lgBt+ folks and taking over the town.

Grant Denkinson