I have experienced a few REALLY exciting things in my life – my first ride in a limousine; my first step on the soil of another continent, my first foot-popping kiss; my first job…the list goes on. But I’m yet to figure out how excited I was to experience a gay pride, for the first time – the 2011 London Gay Pride!
Time went by really fast on this day, and I didn’t get the chance to wear the drag costume I’d put together for this great event in my life. But I had on my halo and fairy god-mother wand that I had bought at the £1 shop earlier on my way to meet my friend, who assured me I looked heavenly!
The parade was all colors and smiles, but there was a mixed smell of hate and disgust caressing my nostrils as I tried to enjoy what I thought was an auspicious event. I wasn’t left to guess for too long about why the smell was getting worse. I was told that at the corner on Trafalgar Square, we will march past a cluster of homophobic Christians, with very colorful placards held really high to get our attention… As if I hadn’t seen enough!
I had intended to walk on the side and take pictures, but instead I found myself saying yes to the many requests that were coming my way. I can’t write about all the things I did at the amazing London Gay Pride, but I can tell you one thing though – Guess who was in the parade holding on one side, a banner that read “Civil Partnerships in Churches – NOW”. It was yours truly! And holding the other side of the banner was a dog-collared priest… Go figure! A black African boy and a Caucasian collared priest wanting civil partnership in churches – and there I was thinking, as we were marching on, that people were really admiring my cheap goose-feathered halo!
I could write on-and-on about my experience. But all-in-all, what I realized on that day was that walking on the London streets, half-naked with placards, while oozing an aggressive and unrelenting desire for acceptance, shows Pride in one’s self and sexuality. More importantly, it is also how one learns to overcome that desire to chastise others with individual opinions on sexuality, whilst accepting diversity deep within – now that, I say with Pride!
Oliver Anene (2011).