Lots of LGBTQ people are used to the rainbows, glitter, leather
and flags that decorate the streets in Pride season. But what about
the newbies? I went to my first ever Pride at Cardiff Mardi Gras on
the 1st September to see what all the fuss was about.
Ogling at the weird and wonderful sights in the march (well, it
was more of a mince), I'd never seen so many gay people in
one place, and "Am I really one of them?" ran through my mind. It
was a surreal experience, being surrounded by people who I knew
were like me but at the same time were completely different. They
knew this stuff, I had no idea. I felt boring without a flag or a
colourful outfit but nevertheless I joined onto the end of the
parade and tramped to the festival field with everybody else.
It seemed to me like a Glastonbury for gays, with various stages
and stalls, bars and rides. I'd never realised how many
organisations were involved, after going round the stalls and
collecting stickers and free pens. (Everybody loves free
After being at first dubious of the drag stage, it didn't take
long to get into the swing of things and soon I didn't bat an
eyelash when a tights-wearing sequin-laden man walked past. I
couldn't get over how much love was going around, with random
strangers smiling and hugging and kissing each other. I listened to
the music, went on the rides, danced (a lot), bought stuff from the
stalls and checked out the hot lesbians just like everybody else,
and even got a few new numbers in my phone. Score!
Sat in the sun smothered by all this gay-ness with my new
friends, it no longer seemed bizarre. We are gay, and this is what
we do. It was natural. When I got home that evening, absolutely
shattered (and with lipstick on my face and lube in my pocket), I
finally felt like I was one of them. Already planning for next
year, I need a significant amount more face paint.
Photo courtesy of Cardiff Mardi Gras