One can’t help but question the validity of UK Pride events in an era of political and legal equality. These occasions started as protests for awareness and justice for marginalised communities – now times have changed. Gone are the angry marches with placards demanding social change, long since replaced by bizarre fancy dress parades, most often culminating in booze-fuelled pop concerts and all night clubbing. I can’t help but wonder if it does more harm than good, producing a day which could be cynically viewed as merely a free party for the gays.
Having said that, when it’s done right it still has a positive influence in today’s society. As an all-inclusive celebration of diversity Pride works well and there are plenty of inequality and tolerance issues still to address in the rest of the world, as well as our home-grown bigotry and lack of understanding.
Bradford Pride is in the enviable position of not outgrowing its relevance, even after ten years. I love the fact it’s stayed small and friendly, especially in a city of such cultural diversity. It’s heart-warming to see it’s never been allowed to be hijacked by greedy club owners trying to milk the pink pound and I much prefer to see new, original acts on a stage than have all the precious budget disappear into the pockets of has-been camp pop-stars year after year.
Politics aside the event itself was nicely put together. A few hiccups with soundchecks and stage times but the atmosphere was buzzing and the acts I saw sounded great. Local band Issimo were tight, slick and original, and singers Craig Roe, Smashby and Mikey May all performed admirably.
The prevailing message of the day was that LGBT people are not out to do you any harm or convert or recruit you, but they might want to invite everyone to a huge party each year, not just to be heard but maybe to camp it up a little – so that’s fabulous!