It’s been a long time coming but Pride in Milton Keynes was finally here. Pride means different things to different people, but to me it is a celebration of being proud to be you no matter how you define yourself. I have never been very keen on labels and find myself struggling to tell people what category I fit into. It’s not easy no matter who you are or how old or young you are. However, Pride in Milton Keynes took the attitude of inclusiveness. This is a great attitude which means you don’t have to fit into a certain category to celebrate diversity. You don’t need to use a label.
Although it is mid-September, the weather celebrated with us and the sun shone. Campbell Park had never been so busy. I am not sure how many Pride were expecting, but I believe it exceeded expectations. It was open to all and a free event which was wonderful. That means it doesn’t stop people attending if they can’t afford it. There were stalls, food, a Pink Punters bus, a community tent for those wanting to hear or participate in a Q&A and of course the very popular music tent. It was so popular that to quote a famous film, I think we are going to need a bigger tent! The tent was packed and full of standing, singing and dancing people enjoying themselves. I hope that next year they use a much bigger space as what I felt was missing was to be able to watch the music on a blanket to chill. Not all of us are young enough or have health good enough to stand from 12 noon to 10pm at night and then go on to Pink Punters.
I went to listen to Horse do her Q&A talk. She is so amicable and the tent was full of people of all ages listening intently to what she had to say. She told us about how she used to be victimised and beaten up, until one day she snapped (the straw that broke the camels...or horse’s back) and she retaliated. She said she feels bad about this but discrimination against LGBTQ+ still exists. We all either have experienced it ourselves or know a friend or relative who has. It’s not changed in all these years and in the last few years it seems to have got worse. Remember those girls on the London bus recently? Horse was not scared to be who she is and that is a fantastic role model to the next generation. Be proud of who you are.
Pride during the day was a family orientated event and I love how young kids can see gay couples together, drag queens and a huge number of rainbows and experience this as completely normal behaviour. This is how to bring up children. I left before the evening event as I just couldn’t stand any longer, but it was with a heavy heart as I loved the event.
From my experience of Pride, I would like to say that it presented an inclusiveness and acceptance that is a way of life in Milton Keynes. As some of you know, I used to go to The Starting Gate, the Blitz style club night in the early 1980’s which already had that attitude. Punks, Goths, New Wave fans and New Romantics, gays and straight people all friends together and accepting each other. I hope that attitude has spread from then throughout Milton Keynes. It was a day of love and Pride. Long Live Pride MK!