11 Things I Learnt At My First London Pride
It was uplifting AF.
Pride is held all over the world every year to celebrate the LGBT+ community and their rights to be with whomever they want to be with, with an equal chance of happiness and success in life.
On Sunday I went to the London Pride parade for the very first time (which is pretty poor form as I’ve lived in London my whole life and have always been meaning to go) and I soon realised just how much I’d been missing. I also realised a couple of other things that all Pride virgins should probably bear in mind for the future…
1. It’s the most colourful place on Earth
The Pride parade is literally the BRIGHTEST thing you’ve ever seen. You’ll be blinded by rainbows and glittery things at every turn.
2. The costumes are often unpredictable
You’d expect to find colourful outfits, sure, but did you expect to see someone walking around with their bottom half enveloped in a unicorn sea float? Or an Ursula-like octopus costume made out of rainbow balloons? Or to turn around and find yourself inches away from an all-too-lifelike Queen Elizabeth II mask?
Costumes are creative, unpredictable, sometimes unnerving.
3. Allies are welcome
One of the great things about the LGBT+ community is that it's so ultra inclusive that straight allies are not seen as intrusive or annoying, but are welcomed along with open arms.
It’s a massive party with an open invitation to anyone who supports the cause. And the LGBT+ community sure knows how to throw a party.
Of course Pride is not about allies, it's a celebration for and about the LGBT+ community, but it's nice that straight allies are allowed to tag along in support.
4. You may get burnt
If you are a pale and pasty person, your headdress needs to be bigger than you may have originally planned in order to incorporate sun protection.
By the end of those two parade hours my nose and forehead were bright red from sunburn. I’m all for embracing the rainbow, but red face does not count.
5. Everything is fabulous
Glitter was literally falling from the sky at one point. I mean, clearly someone was applying it somewhere, but where? It felt like it was sprinkling down from the heavens, leaving us all with a thin, blue, sparkly sheen.
6. Skip to the loo, with relative ease
Be practical – if you’re drinking you’ll need the loo more often than not. Monitor your urinary flow and sure you’re aware of your nearest toilet exit should you need a mid-parade pee. Safety first.
7. There shalt be fitties
As a straight lady, I saw a depressingly large amount of beautiful men with bodies like Hercules in glitter and fairy wings who would just never love me.
Prepare to gawp at the many incredible physiques on parade. And possibly get your heart broken. I’m fine though. Really.
8. Invest in a whistle
A combination of overexcitement and LGBT anthems/ cheesy classics booming out of parade speakers will make you want to scream-sing your way through the entirety of the parade.
Stop being so attention-seeking first of all, but also invest in a Pride whistle which you can use to voice your excitement without becoming a raspy, breathy mess for the next few days. Oops.
9. Dress to impress, and the rest
While dressing up as a LGBT+ Babadook is generally encouraged (well, this year at least), it’s key to think about the practicalities of your outfit. Avoid wearing a handbag as it will repeatedly slap your thighs while you’re twerking to Britney Spears. Wear shoes that will allow you to moonwalk/ shuffle/ breakdance comfortably for at least two hours, and wear sunglasses that DO NOT FALL OFF YOUR HEAD WITHOUT YOU NOTICING.
Yes, I lost my sunglasses at Pride. It was heartbreaking, and due to the magnitude of the crowds I wasn’t even able to say goodbye.
10. You’ll talk to strangers all day
Wearing your Pride gear to and from the parade is a statement without you realising. I chose to wear a Pride unicorn horn, and I’ve never had so many unicorn-based conversations with absolute strangers in my life, never mind all the people I chatted to who just asked me if I had had a good Pride.
I even wore my Pride outfit on a later night out because I didn’t have a change of clothes with me… but I think that may have been pushing it slightly.
11. It’s the happiest place, possibly in the world
You may have been to street parties, you may have been to festivals, you may have been to carnivals, and you may have had the time of your life.
But Pride fun is a different breed of fun. While other carnivals are more about having a good time on the surface – seeing friends, dancing, getting drunk – Pride is about all those things, AND celebrating all that is good in the world, like love, inclusion, acceptance and kindness.
It’s just goddamn uplifting.
So, to those that went, I hope you had a fabulous Pride. To those that didn’t and have never been before, I hope this has inspired you to lose your Pride virginity, even if you're not part of the LGBT+ community and are there to voice your support as an ally. Because it really is a fantastic and uplifting day, and there can never be too much support for equality, inclusion and love.
Just maybe take your worst pair of sunglasses…
Now why not hear what Marnie has to say about being true to yourself in this episode of Sex Squad...