Well, well, who would have thought that I’d be gaying up for another Pride so late in the queer season – and in my hometown too!
Stands back in amazement that our brilliant Barry is actually having its first ever Pride. Result!
The idea has been whispered about in the town for a few years, was boosted by the super success of last year’s Llantwit Major Pride, and is now finally happening.
Massive credit to all those who have finally got the Rainbow Flag flying from our Barry mast with a big shout out to Hannah Isted for driving this forward.
And yeah, yeah, before I get shouted at, I know there are probably trillions of other people, groups and communities who are supporting and sponsoring this too. But I want to say fair play to Hannah, along with former Barry Mayor Emma Powell, as they have played an absolute blinder in pulling this off.
I’m also pleased that, after meeting the pair in the Summer, the Welsh Government’s PRISM Network will be there. But I’m also rather excited that this is the first Pride in bloody years I’ll be flying solo…in the corporate sense.
No more stylish PRISM Polo or dazzling pink Civil Service Tees for me. Best I nip out quick to get myself a natty Rainbow number from Super Gay, oops I mean Super Dry, in the sale. Still wearing my short Shorts and special Rainbow socks though whatever the weather. In fact I am phoning ‘The Hollster’ for a Spray Tan as I type!
Seriously though, Barry Pride is a unique chance for our community, queer and straight, to come together to educate, commemorate and celebrate. And by queer, I mean everybody in the alphabet soup of our community – LGBTIA or Q, everyone is warmly welcomed. Acceptance without exception as Stonewall so rightly say.
And that’s also why we need to educate. We must show that there are always different ways of living and loving. I strongly believe we should only ever judge people by the size of their hearts and not by their sexual orientation, gender identity – or anything else for that matter.
In the 50th Anniversary year of the Stonewall Uprising, and the 20th Anniversary of Pride Cymru, we certainly need to commemorate too. Respect to all those who fought the battle for LGBT rights against a relentless back drop of discrimination, bigotry and oppression. Also to those, myself included, who are still battling for true equality today.
But…Hell Yeah! We certainly need to celebrate as well. Us ‘Gayers’ love a Party (apparently!) and we are proud of who and what we are – why wouldn’t we be?
I can’t think of a better way to show our community that we are queer and we are here – glitter, rainbow flags, rave whistles, and the odd bit of gold lame optional of course!
Now, if the rest of our hometown embrace that difference, show up, and stand with us as those all important friends and allies, we will really show our beautiful Barrybados at its best.
The Small Space are showing the highly acclaimed, ‘Time and Again’ on Thursday September 19th. The film is a heart-lifting tale of two young women separated by society, being given an unexpected chance to make peace in the winter of their lives. Book your tickets here.
Friday night is free to get your gay garb washed, ironed and ready to rainbow, before the main event on Saturday.
See you there.
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Sue Vincent-Jones, writing as Mrs SVJ, is a Barry born journalist, editor, and communications specialist. She blogs about Barry – and her life in the wider world, through the eyes of a, quirky and queer, local girl done good.
One of Wales Arts Review 100 Women Writers of Wales, the dedicated community supporter, passionate arts lover, and award-winning queer activist, will keep you “informed, entertained and inspired.”
Mrs SVJ, Barry’s Boldest Blogger, can be contacted here.