This Saturday is Brighton Pride. It’s the biggest Pride festival in the UK. Pride has been especially festive this year, celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Sexual Offences Act, though I am aware that this was only the beginning of a very long march towards equality.
I can’t, but more importantly, I won’t pretend to know what this march toward equality was like for gay equality campaigners and for LGBT people in their private lives. I’m not gay and this is not a path on which I have personally travelled.
However, I have had the very good fortune to be blessed with some extraordinary people in my life. These four individuals are my closest friends; my go-to people for inspiration, creativity, clarity, fun, gut-busting-laughter and general slob-out-on-the-couch-in-my-pj’s-watching-trashy-tv-in-the-form-of-Troop-Beverly-Hills.
These people are my brothers and their respective husbands. They are advanced practice nurses; a state representative; a lobbyist; a business owner; activists.
They are also gay. [Read more from my mom on THE REASONS I HAVE LOVED RAISING GAY SONS]
In my lifetime, we have seen the advent of marriage equality which has allowed my beloved brothers to marry the men that they love. It has seen my family grow with the addition of 1 niece and 3 nephews.
I didn’t expect to become a Straight Ally. I am most certainly a product of Straight Privilege. Gay equality never crossed my radar when I was young and ignorant, living in a highly hetero-normative world.
But, it is because of these men that I have been welcomed to Pride in the past. It is for these men that I suddenly found myself a Straight Ally. These men opened my eyes, and if you’ll indulge me in a little Wizard of Oz cliche, they pulled the curtain open and I was greeted by all the colours of a world where people were celebrating who they were, no matter what that looked like.
My goodness, how could I ever have thought the world was even a little bit binary?! The fun comes in all the striations and nuances of humanity. I don’t know if I would ever have known this if it wasn’t for my brothers.
These men have made me into a Straight Ally. They have showed me where the inequality and injustice hides in corners and in darkness. I am now that person who openly talks about her brothers and their husbands and I don’t give a rat’s ass what people think about that. I have raised issues of homophobic bullying with my daughter’s school because these men have shown me that there are certainly children in her class who are gay, even if they aren’t yet aware.
Love is love. I look at the love that exists between my brothers and their husbands and it looks just like the love that I have for my husband. Love knows no boundaries.
dear brighton PRIDE…
So to the lovely people of Brighton (my favourite UK city BTW), I just wanted to say this:
I know this isn’t my party. But I am so grateful to you for letting me come along and join in with the Pride Weekend that I feel for my family and the way that they have opened my eyes and my mind to the beautiful rainbow of humanity.
And what a fabulous place to celebrate! Here’s to Brighton Pride 2017! xx