Hi there! I'm Rachel, a postgrad student studying Clinical Animal Behaviour from London. I'm a big 80s music fan, and have a secret love for Marvel movies.
Given the pandemic, it’s no surprise that Pride events aren’t happening around the country again this year. With that being said, I wanted to re-live the excitement that Pride brings to each city that celebrates it!
I’m very fortunate to be surrounded by friends and family who are LGBTQ+ allies. My grandparents in particular. Being born and bred in London, I’ve been a part of London Pride a few times over the years. It’s such a joyous occasion and to witness it and even be part of the festival itself is a unique experience.
The first time I attended London Pride was when I was 7 or 8. I went with my mum and my grandparents. We stood along Pall Mall adjacent to the Florence Nightingale Statue. I remember we were given flags to wave and rainbow leis (flower garland). It was a stream of colour and happiness. People were shouting with joy, airhorns were being used left, right and centre and everyone had smiles on their faces. There were sponsors galore and each part of the parade was sectioned off for different companies and sectors to celebrate.
As the years have gone on, more celebrities and companies have gotten involved and it’s now one of the biggest events held in London every year! The last London Pride I went to was in 2018. Coincidentally afterwards I, my mum and my grandparents went to see ‘Everybody’s Talking About Jamie’ – a musical about a boy who wants to be a drag queen and the difficulties he comes across coming out as gay at school. We stood a little bit further up this time and, again, it was a sea of colour. It went on for miles! Thousands of people turned up from all over the country to be in it or to watch it. Local pubs, restaurants and small businesses were supporting by giving out packages and gifts. This time we received lanyards, hand-held flags, leis, massive tapestry-like flags, airhorns and so much more. Where my first pride lasted for an hour, maybe 90 minutes, this one lasted for much much longer. We were stood watching floats pass for hours! And not only was it a parade, but there were also stages with performances and guest speakers this time. Spotting each celebrity as they went by, we were enjoying every second. We came across Sue Pollard, Sir Ian McKellen, Sadiq Khan, Alexandra Burke, Sinitta, not to mention infamous drag queens like Courtney Act and Alyssa Edwards!
Most recently I went to the 2019 Lincoln Pride. Now, this was my first time experiencing Pride outside of London and again it was just as special! Everything was based at the Arboretum and on route you had people at stalls selling leis and flags. When we arrived we faced the big stage on the right that featured at the time a couple of drag acts from ‘The Scene’. There were stalls everywhere, all celebrating all things LGBTQ+ ensuring pride is the main sentiment. Even independent Lincoln businesses made it out to celebrate!
Despite Pride events not being able to go ahead this year, whenever you get the chance I massively suggest going to one. If you’re part of the LGBTQ+ community or just an ally, celebrate with everyone and be a part of this phenomenal month.