Last Saturday was Pride and I was proud, but not at Pride. It wasn’t a political decision not to attend. I don’t hold with the criticism sometimes levelled that Pride is now just a big party rather than a movement aiming at social and political change. Politics, protests and parties have strong historical links. It also wasn’t a practical decision not to go. The boys are generally well-behaved in public and i have no concerns about taking them up to central London. I know other gay parents took their children of all ages and one year, maybe the next, I do plan to take the boys.
I didn’t go to Pride because I went to my local museum gardens instead. My partner and I enjoyed the sun, let the boys crawl as far and as fast as they wanted on the grass, and got lots of exercise chasing the little mites down. We laughed and giggled and fought over a newly acquired glove puppet (I’d like to say only the boys fought…). My partner and I held hands as we pushed the pram to see the goats in the little pen at the bottom of the gardens, and every now and then we kissed.
So was I ignoring Pride to treat myself to family time? Actually no. Pride, to me, is about saying that gay people are an integral part of our society and that we expect equality. I passionately believe in that message. I have been known to chant it in public, and to mutter it angrily under my breath as I pass the now almost daily protestor standing outside parliament with some ill-conceived banner about the definition of marriage. I’m sure that in the future I will again loudly demand equality rather than simply expect it. But my Saturday was my Pride done my way. I expected to be treated just like any heterosexual couple would be, playing with my children and indulging in occasional displays of affection for my partner, in public. Being able to behave so normally is, to my mind, a little piece of equality.
I offer support and congratulations to those who marched on Saturday, and I hope the hangovers weren’t too bad for those who partied. For my part, I retired to the sofa with my partner and a bottle of Prosecco on Saturday night. Of course, R started crying and had to be cuddled for a while, prompting my partner to practice her growing skills in soothing a wriggling baby while holding a glass of wine. But that’s just part of being a parent, gay or otherwise. Babies don’t care about the sexual orientation of the person they cry at. They’re very equal like that.