Brighton Up: How Brighton Pride restored my faith in humanity

“Bollocks to Boris!” shouts one flag in the parade. “Bollocks to Brexit!” shouts another.

This year’s Brighton Pride was so important for so many reasons. Against the backdrop of a new Conservative PM, the ongoing Brexit debacle, and the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, Brighton was a glittering, multi-coloured light in the darkness.

For better or for (more likely) worse, Boris Johnson is our PM. With his ambiguous views on LGBTQ rights, backed by his hard-right cabinet, a fairer and more liberal society seems very much out of our reach.

Boris Johnson has a very mixed track record when it comes to LGBT rights. As a journalist, he attacked the Labour Party’s advocacy of LGBT sex education in schools. In his book Friends, Voters, Countrymen, he makes a link between gay marriage and bestiality! He also famously referred to gay men as “tank-topped bumboys”. BJ is not just some floppy-haired douchebag on a bike. This is the guy now in charge of running the entire country, and these are his views.

And that’s just the PM. He has a whole crew of small-minded, hard-right politicians. Five of Boris’s cabinet opposed same-sex marriage (while the rest didn’t even vote). Many of them also have issues with abortion, human rights and LGBT education. It’s no wonder Boris’s government has got a lot of us feeling blue.

But… bringing 250,000 people to the city last weekend, Brighton was a locus of love and liberalism. The air was heavy with compassion and camaraderie. Armed with confetti canons and marching defiantly through the city streets, the parade proved an important point: there are people fighting the good fight. Flags are waving for peace and love. For a lot of us, it’s a scary time with a scary government, but the power of Pride pulsed through Brighton and will continue to do so.

Brighton Pride is a flamboyant fiesta, bursting with music, colour and cocktails. But it is so important to remember why.

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