We don’t live in a big city. No great metropolis round here. Our city is a collection of six towns, literally. Each town still has its own separate and distinct identity and compared to London or Manchester or Birmingham we are pretty small potatoes. So Stoke Pride today in a local park was something that even a few years ago was the source of huge controversy in the local papers and started as a very tame and feeble event with a few stalls behind the only Gay Club in the area.
Today the sun shone and the people turned out to celebrate in all our glorious diversity. Young and old, gay, lesbian, bi, trans and straight. Big and small, kids, families, black and white. We ran into old friends and drank beer or coffee whilst sitting sedately on a picnic blanket. We danced to Lady Gaga, admired drag in all its gorgeousness and realised that tutus and fairy wings, like rainbows, are alive and well in the lesbian community. I quite fancied a rainbow bandana for the dog but the boys think he is feminine enough as a poodle pooch without any extra adornment.
The usual array of stalls representing community action groups, Health, Police and the City Council were running stalls and giving away freebies. Between us we have postcards, pens, a can opener and an ice scraper for the car. Oh and we won a bottle of sports drink and a beer with a glass both of which I am happy to pass on.
It is fun to sit and watch the community go by. High heels and glam frocks, butch shirts and short hair, boys in angel wings, girls in tutus. Small people in big wigs and lotsa lippy, boys with posing dogs on bling leads looking for a cute companion. There was free face painting, clay to play with, balloons galore and sparkly colourful wind socks and flags flying above the crowds. An afternoon of fantasy and fun. A safe, friendly atmosphere. Raucous sing a long to “I am What I Am”, and like Pride the world over, a moment of joy that this is ‘My’ town, my tribe and I am proud to have been there. My friend T. took this photo because she said we looked like something out of ‘Little Britain”, I see where she was coming from! If you don’t know the series the reference will pass you by but it sort of sums up the ironic humour of the event too.