Saturday 25th August 2018 saw Southampton hold it’s annual gay pride, for the third year running. I’ve been along to every year so far and it’s fantastic to see it grow year by year.
Southampton pride is currently a free event, ran by The Stage Door in Southampton and other committee members from various companies within the city, who volunteer their time to make this amazing event possible.
I had the opportunity to walk in the parade with Nationwide Building Society, proudly sporting a rainbow Nationwide t-shirt, waving flags and handing out badges, along side my fiancée, my mum, my brother & his girlfriend. If you haven’t been to a pride event before, the parade is the highlight, everyone comes together in support of the LGBT+ community, a sea of rainbow, glitter and whistles. As a gay woman, the sense of empowerment and pride I feel whilst in the parade is overwhelming and actually quite emotional.
Growing up, I was confused about my sexuality and struggled with my identity for many years. If I was able to attend a pride event, it would have massively helped me. When your under 18 it’s really hard to meet other gay people, when I was a teenager and first released I was questioning my sexuality, I didn’t know any other gay women. I used to think I’d have to run off to America to meet another lesbian.
Pride is not only a chance to meet other gay people, or even a celebration of sexuality and equality, it’s a way for straight allies and family members to show their solidarity for the LGBT+ community. If I had seen that much love, support and acceptance from thousands of people within the city, it would have made things a heck of a lot easier.
Southampton pride, like most other pride events has an array of things to do throughout the day for the whole family. There are funfair rides, face & glitter painting, endless merch and food stalls and of course the live music, from local unsigned artists to the bigger names such as Union J and the Cheeky Girls, yes the cheeky Girls, who actually put on a damn good show with their rainbow tutu’s and synchronised dance routines.
I ended the fabulous day at Southampton pride after party at The Edge nightclub, in my opinion, the best club around, singing my heart out to every gay anthem!
If you haven’t been to a gay pride event, I urge you to give it a chance, you don’t need to be gay, or even go with someone gay, but chances are you’ll know someone who is and just going along will show them your support and it’s just a great, free day out to have a few drinks with friends or enjoy with your kids.
2018’s pride season may be coming to an end so be sure to Like the Southampton Pride Facebook page and keep up to date with news on next years event. I know it will be better than ever.