Leeds Pride 2017

Learning to Write #17

pridepoem2

I apologise, this is slightly churlish of me. I really enjoyed being part of the Leeds Pride 2017 parade, it was great to see families out there in the thousands (proper thousands, not Trump thousands), celebrating diversity. The rush of walking down from Millennium Square, high fiving the crowd and seeing so much colour…. Amazing.

And yet, I’ve written a poem which is slightly critical. And yes, I was there with my employers brand written across my t-shirt, front and back. So I’m being a bit two faced. But the poem wanted to be written like this, so there it is.

Pride has clearly changed a lot over the years; it is now corporate friendly and family friendly and it’s unclear which came first. The number of rainbow brands on show this weekend was staggering, but likewise the number of families was also brilliant to see. A face that is smiling through glitter and rainbow face paint would – you’d think – find it a lot harder to discriminate in future. Hands that wave LGBT flags will – hopefully – be less likely to be hammer out homophobic troll tweets.

I’m such an idealist 🙂

Is it possible to separate the corporate from the occasion? Leeds Light Night does a reasonably good job of it; creating a free of charge spectacle that is very family friendly without throwing brands in your face. But this in in the dark. Most of the social media content for Light Night is, well, all light and night. Pride is different. The reach across multiple media streams for the stickers you give away, for the uniforms your staff wear when they parade, for the banners, for everything else that you can brand – is enormous. Everything is there on display. Everything is seen and captured and shared.

Unfortunately, as long as Pride continues to be so inclusive and popular, then I think we’re stuck with the brands. There will always be the vocal minority; the woman holding the slogan “Black, Queer & Proud” who led the song about “The End of the Patriarchy”, the neon bright queens poised for selfies, the empowered and confident young couples with their attitude of “we don’t care how many flavours of gingerbread person you have, we’re still unique and distinct from any of them”. As long as we have them there to give the event an element of edge, then we have hope.

pridebear

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