My experience of Bristol Pride

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by Dev, MSc(Hons) Marketing Communications

Bristol Pride 2019 was a glorious event. Thousands of us celebrating our queerness in the heart of Bristol was a sight to behold! Although the size of the event stopped me from finding the UWE Bristol float, they were there once again as one of the sponsors. Here’s my experience of Bristol Pride 2019, plus everything you need to know about Bristol Pride 2020.

My highlights of Bristol Pride 2019

I could easily imagine that any random person who saw the sea of LGBTQ+ folk in Castle Park at Bristol Pride would have been confused out of their minds. Even I was flabbergasted at first!

I expected there to be a big gathering, but the fact that we (individual and group marchers, corporate representatives, merch sellers, drag queens and even a tyrannosaurus rex) filled up ¾ of the park was unbelievable.

We stretched on for what looked like miles. I spotted a few tourists having a breakfast at the park with curious looks on their faces—maybe they were doing their best not to judge us too much.

During the parade, we waved our different flags and signs up and down the streets of Cabot, chanted and sung some classic ‘gay anthems’ and strutted in our wild and creative costumes and make up.

The crowd were so incredibly supportive of our movement, waving and cheering as we walked past, some even watching us from their balconies. There were children having the time of their lives with glitter all over their faces.

When Whitney Houston’s 80s classics weren’t playing, a brass band took it upon themselves to play the entirety of Beyonce’s discography. There was even a marching band and firemen DJs involved halfway through the parade.

But as with any event this massive, there were bound to be setbacks. For a start, the parade started around an hour later than planned and the weather was temperamental at best.

Given the historically complex relationship between our community and the police, there were also rumblings of protest throughout the day especially when the group was faced with an anti-LGBTQ+ preacher yelling at us from the side lines.

That being said, there was solidarity around us and amongst ourselves—between people who identified on different parts of the spectrum to the many ages, races, and ethnicities within the community.

Because of this, it didn’t matter that there were people who were, inexplicably, still against it. It was heart-warming to see people freely express themselves and openly show their love and affection with each other without remorse.

As a queer student born and raised in a conservative environment and still trying to find their place in the world, it was an incredible thing to experience. Personally, Bristol’s queer scene is one of the best ones I’ve been a part of.

It combines both excitement and acceptance in one fell swoop and helped shape me to become the person I am today. I know from experience that there aren’t many places that are as welcoming and open-minded as Bristol.

Bristol is a wonderful city for us queer folk and anyone can take part in the community (as long as they’re respectful) and will be welcomed with open arms.

How is Bristol Pride different this year?

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the festival is looking a little different this year. Bristol Pride will be run digitally from 1st-13th September 2020, so everyone can get involved while staying safe.

Although the restrictions prevent us from getting together as normal, it’s great we’re able to join in with all the celebrations online, from the comfort of our homes. Don’t miss the virtual parade on 12th September, which is open to all.

Find out more about Bristol Pride on the UWE Bristol website.

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