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Sunday, June 16, 2024

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PRIDE MONTH SERIES: Claire Blakeborough

Happy Pride Month! Our Pride Month Series is BACK for another year! It’s time to celebrate the fabulous people who make up our glorious LGBTQ+ community!

Each day during Pride Month we will be highlighting one of those people. Today, we ask Claire Blakeborough, Marketing and Communications Manager at Cyrex, the people behind the electro-sex brand Electrastim what pride means to them.

What does Pride mean to you?

I grew up in a pretty small town in rural Suffolk where there wasn’t a great deal of diversity so I hid my sexuality for a long time because I never had gay role models to support me. Although my family have never been anything other than my biggest fans and incredibly supportive; the area that we lived in wasn’t hugely accepting of difference. When I moved away for university, started finding myself and going to Pride I realised just how much I’d been missing out on. Pride helped me to accept who I was and realise that I wasn’t alone- in fact there was a huge community of people who had experienced the same struggles I did.

I wouldn’t be the person I am today without those first formative Prides.

Tell us about your first Pride experience, what & where was it?

My very first Pride was Birmingham, I think it would have been 2005 or 2006. I can remember getting hideously drunk and sunburnt but being in Nightingales until about 3am having the time of my life. I made a lot of friends during that Pride; some of which I’ve never lost contact with.

What is your favorite part of Pride?

Now that 40 is looming my favourite part of Pride has changed a bit! I used to be all about the drink, the dancing and the dressing up but these days my favourite thing is probably just being there and people watching! We really do have the best community on the planet; the love and support that just radiates through Pride is incredible. Being surrounded by people that you share something fundamental with is so special.

Do you have a favorite Pride memory?

My wife and I going to our first Pride as a married couple in our hometown last year. It was the first time that Chelmsford has had a proper Pride march through the city and it was an incredibly emotional experience to see such an enormous turnout. The atmosphere was just wonderful and the incredible diversity of people that showed up to demonstrate their love and pride in the community was beautiful to see.

Why do you think Pride is still important?

As far as I’m concerned until no part of our community feels marginalised or threatened then Pride is vital not just important.
Our trans brothers and sisters have been under attack by misinformed and frankly spiteful groups or individuals from all sides of society. Some of them are worryingly close to our own community. Pride should always be a safe space where people can be exactly who they are without fear of judgment or harm.
While any part of our community is suffering we all have work to do; whether that’s activism, educating yourself, or just remembering to be kind.
Until the day comes where we can honestly say that every part of the LGBTQIA community is on a level standing in society with everyone else then Pride has a place. Even if one day we get to the point where everyone is free to live and love exactly as they choose there’s always going to be room for Pride as a celebration of just how far we’ve come.

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