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Carnival street party at Brighton Pride

Pride 2021 – how I will be celebrating

It’s easy to take for granted how lucky we are in Brighton. Everything you’ve heard about how tolerant, how accepting, how liberal it is – by and large, it’s all true. And more than anything else, this is shown by our massive annual Pride celebration. 

What is Brighton Pride?

Brighton Pride has grown to be a city-wide civic festival, an event not just for the for the LGBTQ+ community but something the whole community is part of, whatever your orientation, gender, identity or background. In non-pandemic years, the immense parade parties through the streets all day, the pavements filled with revellers come to share the sights, the sounds, the sun and ENJOY THE DAY TOGETHER. If you choose, normal life is called off ‘til sundown, and the whole city centre becomes one huge carnival. And, of course, it all comes together at the end of the day for the festival in the park: music, bands, speakers, a highlight of every summer.  

Brighton Pride street party with pride umbrellas

How can I celebrate Pride?

So it’s easy to understand why so many are sad that the traditional event is not possible this August, for the second year running. But the spirit of Pride is not dead, and we’ll be marking it in all sorts of ways. For a start, the organisers have announced season of smaller cultural events of all kinds, from comedy to cabaret to live music, including talks and discussions on the campaigning and politics that are at the core of what Pride is about. There’s also a citywide art exhibition and an online film festival for everyone to enjoy. It’s a mark of how embedded Pride is in Brighton’s character, how much it means to people here, that whatever else is happening, the rainbow flag is kept flying. 

Why is Pride important?

But invaluable and enriching as these events are, I think the spirit of Pride will be shown in a million smaller ways as well this summer and the rest of the year. I’ve hit my forties now and I must admit it’s been a little while since I took full part in the loudest festivities – but I’ve become more and more aware of just how central to Brighton the message of Pride is. It’s always been a joy to live somewhere that celebrates LGBTQ+ identities; but now my kids are teenagers, I’m seeing what it’s like to grow up where these things are accepted. The option of finding your own sexuality or gender identity is just normal to my kids and their peers; they talk matter-of-factly about same-sex couples and trans friends at school; teachers and parents are openly gay or non-binary; friends have told me about how supportive their schools have been when their kids have transitioned, because they’ve helped many kids through it before. I think that might be a huge part of what Pride is about. On a planet where it’s still illegal in many countries to be LGBTQ+, where even in other towns in Britain you can face persecution and violence before you’ve even come out, I feel so glad and so relieved to live in a place where all people are accepted. It feels very lucky. It feels a lot like… well, pride. 

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Brighton cityBrighton Prideliving in BrightonPride 2021

Jon Mason • 5th August 2021

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