Sunday, 29 June 2014

Trelawnyd Pride

I noted with some mild interest that my former home town of Sheffield staged its Gay Pride march and festival yesterday and it seemed to have been a successful event despite the weather.
(British rain does not quite balance out with scantily clad queens in Lycra shorts)
Now, I have just realised that I have never been to a Pride event in my life. Back in my single days in Sheffield the gay scene centred around a couple of seedy clubs in the rough part of town, a particularly common " wine bar" called Dempsey's (with its cheap flooring and and a clientele who carried bargain shop  carrier bags) and occasional camp nights at the Art Deco ballroom at the City Hall." Pride" was an event to take part in London and Manchester......cities that glittered a little more brightly than Sheffield once did.
Thankfully that has all changed.
Anyhow as I lay in bed this morning covered in Welsh Terriers, I got to thinking about Gay Pride.
My gay pride ......in fact.
It's a subject  I don't really think about really.
Am I really proud to be gay?
Well I guess the answer must now be yes... But it it also needs to be balanced with everything else I think I am proud of. Being gay, is the least interesting part of who I am.
I am proud I am part of a supportive and close family.
I am proud to be a nurse
I am proud that we are a part of a community that we contribute to
I am proud of the village Flower Show,
I am proud of my friends.
I am proud that my bulldog doesn't batter a fat eyelid when faced with Pippa Barnsley's baying hounds in the lane.
At 52 I am now generally more comfortable in my rapidly wrinkling old skin than I ever have been.
I never really think about anyone I meet being homophobic anymore. If they dislike me, I put it down to the fact that I can be an argumentative  little shit rather than to the fact I have a rather unsavoury thing for Russell Crowe in his floppy hair phase.
Having said all this, Pride Celebrations are vitally important  in reinforcing acceptance and identity and one day, I would like to walk the walk along side and in support of others who have found their " gay journeys" not so smooth or easy as perhaps we have done over the years.

I will leave you with a story from the 1980s, when an old friend and Felicity Kendal look-a-like , Home Counties, mom of two Carol had been just informed by her teenage son that he was gay.
Gay Pride was a rare thing " up north" so in a moment of solidarity she secretly travelled to London in order to walk beside her son at the gay pride march.
In those days the organisation of the march was somewhat haphazard, and Carol ( in her best twin set and pearls) got separated from her son, so ended up falling into conversation with a " group of rather scruffy ladies from Birmingham"
Imagine her surprise when she met her ex husband and mother the next day , who turned up at her hone with copies of the Sunday Telegraph under their arms.
On the front page was a photo of Carol walking alongside a shaved haired lesbian who was brandishing a placard which screamed
" BULLDOG BRUMMIE DYKES ARE HERE TO STAY,"

.



80 comments:

  1. What a funny story about Twinset Carol! Nice to begin Sunday with a giggle. Unfortunately I again had to leave my lycra tiger suit in the wardrobe this year being unable to attend Sheffield's Gay Pride festival. Moving daughter to Birmingham.

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    1. Tell her to look out for the BRUMMIE bulldog dykes!

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  2. Am I proud to be 'hetro'? Not at all, it's simply what I am. Isn't that the same for all gay men and women too? Ginger pride? Jewish pride? Asthmatic pride? I don't really think 'pride' is the right word.

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    1. I don't either Cro... " inclusion" may be a better word

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  3. Excellent John, Thanks. Happy 'Pride' day for yesterday. Dublin managed a gorgeously sunny afternoon in the end...

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    1. Nice to have your comment ciaran
      I think the weather was iffy in Sheffield

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  4. How I wish the Pride Celebrations/walks etc weren't necessary. But they are.
    And I love twin-set Carol's fifteen minutes of fame. Was her husband an ex before that march or after?

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    1. Very much before.... I think it was a huge shock to him and his mother in law as neither knew that their son/ grandson was gay.!

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  5. I was with you all the way there, until you - had to - mention Russell bloody Crowe. I suppose this is just one area where we have to disagree.

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  6. I tend not to think about my own or other people's sex lives as being important (unless obviously ...). I have always been stunned by homophobia. Imagine the scene at an interview when they ask the nice straight lady "Do you like doggy style, Miss Jones?". The pride events in my locale are great but should be unnecessary. how we be human is what's crucial not who we shag.

    Also, twin-set Carol - superb L)

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    1. Good point
      We really shouldn't need pride

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  7. Love the story. Hurrah for Carol!

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  8. What a great conclusion to your post. It is interesting being an older gay person when your hormones no longer race and make you do silly things, and you slip into the comfort of your older skin, albeit with the occasional arthritic twinge. I care much less now about what people think. Being gay is one part of me, but I think there is more to me than just that.

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    1. If the only thing a person likes to be known for is their sexuality...well, they must be just a tad shallow

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  9. Even better than successful Gay Pride parades will be when the day comes that no one feels the need for one.

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  10. In my progressive town *sarcasm*, the townspeople (half of them) turned their back on the one gay float a few years ago.

    I like Cro's comment. And Delores' comment.

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    1. How sad and unfortunate

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  11. Maybe you could take bellowing Bunty on a gay pride march with you?!!! Where is she by the way? Does she still visit? (Sorry for being a tad nosy) :)

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    1. It's funny Simone but I haven't not seen her for a while.... I have not got her number, she has mine.....

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  12. From an aging hetro, I am proud to have access to your blog. By the way I watch "Master and Commander" at least 3 times a year and am still stunned by this man "Aubrey". Glad you are home, sorry about the gin. Marilyn

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    1. It was the sight of crow in those " britches" that I remember

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  13. Pride has become almost like a festival...no longer needed to show acceptance, but to celebrate diversity. Toronto is hosting World Pride this week. The CN tower was lit up like a rainbow and I was very proud to live here and send the message of acceptance and freedom.

    When I was working for a surgical office, one of the surgeons told me he was going to the Pride Parade just to see the Director of Care of a large city hospital John Doe strut down the street in drag. I told him he must be mistaken, this man was not gay and certainly not marching in the parade. He insisted he was correct. I never did find out if he saw him because he left the practice before I could ask him. Thing was, this John Doe he was anxious to see was my good friends, happily married to a woman's dad. From then on when I saw him, I wondered if he was harboring a secret.

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    1. Many do Chania
      Double lives abound..
      How sad

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  14. Dear mother Carol.....We all support our loved ones when needed. We all are what we are and it makes no difference. Have a wonderful day !

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  15. at age 60, I don't give a fat rat's arse what others think of me. and I second delores.

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    1. Rats arse...how very judge judy xx

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  16. Love this post, John! xox

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  17. You have much to be proud of...you know yourself.

    Funny story...the last part.

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  18. Well....I am just so glad that we are moving forward and at least part of our world is realizing that being gay is just who you are..some people are straight ..some gay ...some bi...
    One of my dearest friends died of AIDS in 1994..he was an anesthesiologist ..we met in the O.R. He died never able to come out..
    It just breaks my heart...I have an uncle that had to live as a straight man his entire life....and now I have two of my dearest friends..who had their wedding here and have a daughter who is 15!!!
    Katie and her two dads!!! Her friends think her dads are the greatest thing ever!! Times are changing for the better...
    I just wish my dear Friend Lou could have known this...
    I would have to say I am really proud of all my gay friends and family!!!!!

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    1. Lou grew up in a very different world than the one we thankfully live in today.
      I am thankful for that..very much

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  19. I think, to the memory of Quentin and all those other sad souls who had to deny who they were and hide themselves away or go underground in order to live their lives, the Gay Pride Marches are an excellent way of saying 'look at me, I'm Gay and Proud and living EXACTLY how I like despite what all you homophobic,shallow-minded,judgmental,bigotted hypocrites think'. So I say, Long Live the Queens and their Lycra Shorts!

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  20. Toronto's PRIDE is today, the Dyke march was yesterday...both fabulous events...not about 'pride', but festivals celebrating freedom..and in the case of the Dyke march,to show that ALL women still need and lack true equality.
    Jane x

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    1. Freedom
      I like that way of looking at the whole thing

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  21. I've been in a couple of parades over the years, here is something self affirming about it. But being gay is a small part of who we are. There is so much to be proud of.

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    1. Self affirming is perhaps the words I was trying to find re cro's comment

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  22. Everyone we meet has something to teach us about our world.

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    1. Even Fred West and Peter Sutcliffe?

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    2. Hummmmmmmm? Need to think about this one

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  23. We are all different in one way or another, but sometimes it takes action to find acceptance in societies that choose to hate.

    Our lives are enriched when we embrace diversity, both our own and others.

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  24. Took my then-6 year old son to a gay pride parade in the 90's, the rest of the day he marched around chanting "We're queer. We're here. Get used to it!" over and over.

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    1. That's my ( or your) boy!

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  25. Are you fucking gay for God's sake?

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    1. No, why would you think that?

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  26. I always think that the whole gay/straight thing will not really have gone away until nobody mentions it John - but I don;t suppose that will happen in my life time, let alone yours. As I have a gay grand daughter I really do hope it happens in hers.

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  27. Winnie's not from Birmingham is she? She's not gay, as she fancies you rotten. And she is definitely here to stay. Buy that girl a pint of London Pride.

    LLx

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  28. There is a little known prejudice for which there are no 'pride' marches or support of any kind.

    What if you are a heterosexual couple who don't want children? Well... you suffer the indignity of pretending that you can't have children, the sympathetic words about how awful it must be for you. Or you just say ' We never felt the need to have children' and have people look at you like you, like you are some kind of deviant?

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    1. Yes.....it's as if children make people whole
      In my mothers case
      Children made her drink!

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  29. The Pride parades of today are so far removed from the pre-'Pride' rallies and marches, some of which I participated in in London in the 70s - so austere, sombre, grey and political - with mass singing of 'We Shall Overcome" (Gulp!).
    I rejoice at the transformation to cause for celebration though I also do look forward to the time when it just doesn't matter what one is - which could still happen in my lifetime, despite 'our enemies' trying their darned best to make sure that it continues to be a material factor (a 'choice'!). As long as they won't let it go, neither will we.
    Enough of the heavy stuff, carry on with the party!

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    1. Yes, the energy of pride is, I think, infectious for all

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  30. I don't feel the need to be proud that I'm straight. I'm much more proud of the lives I've saved--whether human, canine, or feline--and the kindnesses (I hope they were seen as kindnesses) that I've bestowed on others. I feel particularly good when people say I've made them laugh. I guess it's because I didn't know that I was funny.

    Love,
    Janie

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    1. I guess the best epitaph for any of us would be that people thought of us " fondly"

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  31. Oh you made me laugh so hard and reminded me of an event I was at years ago at a Xmas celebration for gays in Toronto. I had met a lot of gays through my younger daughter who is gay and she had emigrated to England so her gay pals invited me to this Xmas bash. when all the parents of gays who were present were asked to stand and be recognised the 6 (male) gays I was with hoisted me up in the air with screams of "MOM!!" Afterwards and old fellow stopped me and said, astonished, "all your sons are gay?"
    XO
    WWW

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    1. How lucky for you if they were!

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  32. I will again be walking arm in arm with my son, his partner and their friends in our annual Cornwall Pride, for me it will be about showing that I am proud of them.

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    1. Bloody well good for you

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  33. Your writing is so good. And the comments don't suck either :)

    I wish the entire world shared these feelings, and I particularly wish that all the gods of all the religions would send down a lightning bolt to their followers that THIS is how things should be.

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    1. Very kind of you to say xx

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  34. Love it! WE have a fair called Out In The Square every year in Wellington - it is huge fun and for a couple of years running I had a stall selling cushions with hunks or Frida Kahlo on them. Last time I sold out, so my lovely friend Sarah was helping me pack up. A photographer asked for our pic so we put our arms around each other and next thing you know, there's a lovely middle aged lesbian couple on their Facebook page! Ah well :) Ironically I am the only stall holder to stock anything specifically aimed at the gay community, although most of the hunk cushions are bought by young camp men for their mothers ;-)

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  35. John, I must tell you that I really love your blog and you always make me laugh. I have two friends who are gay, John and Brian. They have been together a long time and some years back had bricks thrown through their window. I remeber John said to me, "Oh it's ok, it's just the kids, they think we're shagging all round the house and after every bloke we see, we've heard all the backs to the wall comments but we just watch tv on the sofa with a glass of wine like any other couple and I get the spiders out of the bath because Brian's a Wooss"

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    1. If it's not gays, it's Roma's or Arabs or anyone else in the firing line

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    2. You mean that's not what you do?

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  36. A friend said she and another friend wanted to get t-shirts made up saying "white, heterosexual and proud". My reaction was thank the suffragettes and your ancestors, and don't judge others for fighting for equal rights.

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    1. Presumably your friend wants to do that as a reaction to being constantly told that being white and hetero is shameful, sinful, perverted and inferior - and not only that, but that laws should be kept or even changed to reflect it. If that's the reason she wants to get those tees then I'm with her all the way.

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  37. I'm glad you're proud to be a nurse. My daughter's a nurse and she feels male nurses are resented, at least here in the states. Glad we're at the point when being gay is way down on the list of what's interesting about people.

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    1. Resented.... Why?

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    2. Because the it has long been considered a "female" occupation and the nurses here have fought to unionize. They were successful and their wages have increased tremendously. The female nurses feel that they have fought for their recognition and now the males want in on it.

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  38. Nothing what so ever to do with your topic but I thought you may wish to share this with Winnie
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?mv=Sg7cTj9_Tz0&feature=player_embedded
    Cheers
    Jan (dedicated lurker and occasional commenter from central QLD)

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    1. Jan, could you send again?
      It says invalid code when I cut and pasted the link x

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  39. I follow your blog because I love your honesty, your love for your fellow man, your love for the animals in your care and because you are hilarious!!! I do not, however, follow you because you are gay, because it matters not to me one teensy bit. Who you are has nothing to do with your sexual orientation, and I like you simply because you are you. Does that make any sense or am I babbling nonsense? I just like who I like, gay or heterosexual is not the determining factor for me. xoxo

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    1. So sweet of you to say xxxxx

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  40. Loved the story about Carol.

    The only time i care about someone's sexual orientation is when i wish to have sex with him, and as i'm married, that could be an interesting situation to say the least.

    But, seeing all the Gay Pride parades and such to me signals that the pendulum has swung the other way after years of homophobia, and it will take some time before it finds a middle ground. I'm guessing at least a generation or two more before we see a more centrist mindset.

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  41. I just want to say "Hear, hear!"

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