At the moment I’m currently working to promote the third year of Warrington pride. The theme that has been selected this year is Pride. At promotional events over summer we’ve been asking people to fill out cards to say what they are proud of.

I haven’t completed mine yet, as I’m not sure what the answer is.

I think as a community we become a cynical old bunch. Subtle Homophobia and living in a heteronormative society means that we are outsiders. I’ve almost become numb to this fact.

Each year we can see and attend pride events which show us the diversity across the communities. This year in Manchester Pride, my boyfriend and I were drawn into a debate as to whether or not the rubber men should be part of the parade. He felt it was not part of sexuality and was a fetish so should not be there as a part of the gay community. We disagreed because to deny any aspect of sexuality across the LGBT spectrum would force it back into the closet and place shame and guilt onto those that identify with that label. I have previously written an article on the dangers of slut-shaming and I think those lessons are prevalent here.

I also encountered negativity within the LGBT community from people who thought that groups were not representative as a whole. Groups are there to offer peer support and help to those who need it. I don’t want or need any group to represent me or be my voice.

I have my own.

The bears are doing their thing and the lipstick lesbians can do their own thing. They don’t need to represent each other. The village community in Manchester is diverse and strong enough so everyone gets their own time without it feeling like they are invading each other’s space. Aside from the pride events, there are things such as the “To Russia With Love” protests earlier this year. This saw the village come together to fundraise and support the LGBT community in Russia.

What I’m proud of is the diversity we represent. Each and every one of us came out and stood up because we refused to compromise our sense of self just to fit in.

We didn’t want to be who people told us we should be in the “straight” world why should that change in the LGBT community. We have seen abuse, we’ve seen hatred. We’ve been the victims of cheap jokes. We’ve battled to start to gain some small measure of equality.

But we endured and stayed together. Pride for me, is about the community. Both local and online. It’s about anyone that talks to us at a fund raising event. Even if you are straight you know someone who isn’t and that person might need support or solidarity. Pride is about being yourself and not having to compromise of your integrity or beliefs and still being able to fit into an imperfect and beautifully weird group of people like me.

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I don’t need to know what drives or inspires you. I don’t even need to know your name. I just need to accept you and hope you will accept me.

Warrington pride is on 27th September in Queens Gardens, Warrington


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About the author: Barry Heap

Back, back back again!

Fatter, more ginger and gayer than ever. Enjoying stints as a burlesque performer and stand up comedian, I bring a well travelled perspective.

I like video games, axifi, budget travel and cheap wine

Opinions expressed in this article may not reflect those of THEGAYUK, its management or editorial teams. If you'd like to comment or write a comment, opinion or blog piece, please click here.