For every LGBTQ+ person, going to their first Pride parade is a must, a rite of passage almost. It’s one of the few places where they feel totally at home, accepted and free to let their rainbow flags fly without being at all self-conscious.
However, the first time you attend Pride can be kind of daunting. How should I dress? What do I do when I’m there? Who do I go with? How should I act? All these questions have an endless amount of answers but here are some top tips and tricks from when I went to my first Pride.
Firstly, there is no dress code at Pride. You can wear whatever you want. You can be a human walking rainbow or you can wear all black – it truly doesn’t matter.
When I went, I wore a pair of ripped jeans and a white vest with a peace sign on it but there were people there who painted themselves in rainbow colours or coordinated their clothes to their sexuality. For example, my best friend is asexual and all her clothes were a mix of grey and purple and black to match the flag. Everyone is different in what they feel comfortable wearing and no-one will condemn you for not wanting to wear rainbows.
As for what to do at Pride, the answer to that is just socialise. Some bigger events have floats and such displays like London, but smaller events might just have a few stalls but one thing that every Pride event has in common is people.
My local pride was in a very small area and just had some stalls dotted around selling buns and flags and balloons etc. Just because it was small didn’t mean I didn’t have fun – I loved watching the entertainment they’d put on and I loved socialising with likeminded people. The atmosphere was amazing and everyone was so nice. For someone with social anxiety, it’s normally quite hard to socialise and put yourself out there in an environment with crowds like that but it seemed so easy. It felt like community – like family.
When going to Pride, you can take whoever you want. They don’t have to be a part of the LGBTQ+ community. They can be 100% straight but that doesn’t mean they can’t attend Pride. Pride is for everyone so long as they love and support the community.
Most of the people I went to Pride with are a member of the LGBTQ+ community. They’re a mix of gay, demisexual, asexual and bisexual like me. One of my friends is totally straight though, yet she came with us and joined in all the fun. She painted rainbows on her face, waved a rainbow flag above her head and held a balloon saying ‘proud of who we are.’ Everyone is welcome at Pride and all that matters is that you feel comfortable with the people around you.
Finally, all you need to remember when at Pride is to be yourself. You are a part of a wonderful, beautiful community and they love you for who you are. You don’t need to put on an act or try to be any different to the way you normally are.
I have never been more myself than when I was at Pride. I was my weird, crazy, awesome self. I was dancing like a freak, singing at the top of my voice and flailing my flag around like never before. I’m pretty sure I ended up banging in to a few people and hitting a few heads with my flag. That’s how wild I went and I went that wild because I knew I could. I knew that I wouldn’t be judged and that made me more free than I’ve ever been and less self-conscious. At Pride, you can truly let your freak flag fly!
For anyone who went to Pride, I hope you had the best time ever and for anyone going to Pride, enjoy it! After all, you’ll only go to your first Pride once.
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