GLL: What does Pride mean to you?
Claire: To me, Pride is a display of love and individuality as well as recognising the hard work and sacrifices of LGBTQ+ people before me. I’m an out and proud gay woman every day of my life so Pride Month to me is a chance to be reflective as well as celebratory.
GLL: Tell us about your first Pride experience, what & where was it?
Claire: My first Pride was in Birmingham with a group of friends- I think in 2006. I remember we were invited to have drinks with a group quite a bit older than us- as there were no seats in the bar we were at and ended up forming a close-knit group that became my second family for several years. I was struggling with my sexuality at the time but those friendships helped me embrace who I am fully and come out properly to all my family and friends. Most of us have gone our separate ways these days but I often reflect on how a chance meeting with strangers shaped the way my life is now.
GLL: What is your favourite part of Pride?
Claire: I think my favourite part of Pride has always been a parade- particularly in Brighton as it takes over the city centre. The colour, the music and the sheer joy is intoxicating and I’ve always loved either watching or the couple of times I’ve walked the route as part of an organisation.
GLL: Do you have a favourite Pride memory?
Claire: The first Essex Pride I went to with my now-fiancée. We had drinks in the sun, watched Sinitta and just had the most wonderful day. I decided not long after that to start looking for an engagement ring.
GLL: Why do you think Pride is still important?
Claire: There’s a long way to go until everyone is treated equally regardless of who they love, how they present or the pronouns they use so I find that I always learn a lot during Pride Month; especially about the experiences of others. Even when (and I have to believe it’s when not if) we reach the point where we have equality, I think Pride will still be important as a celebration and recognition of where we’ve come from.
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