Two prides, One City: Party or protest?

Pride is often described as either a party or a protest. Over the past 2 weekends, we have had both types of pride. Pride in London being considered a party, live music, corporate sponsors, and politicians (Including their LGBT party groups) lining the parade route. 

The parade at Pride in London isn’t what people call a march. Unlike what was found in Trans Pride London. A phrase often chanted on the route would be “pride was a fucking riot”, They weren’t there to party:. They were there to protest.

To start with, It is key to see what was at the front of the parade. For that is often indicative of what the prides are.
At the head of the march at London Pride, you can see the Mayor of London, and Labour Shadow Minister Emily Thornberry. Two people who didn’t take part in Trans Pride London.  

When it comes to Trans Pride, there was a key emphasis on accessibility. Making sure that everyone was included. Anyone with mobility needs set the pace and everyone was behind them all the way. 

When it came to Trans pride, despite the LGBT Conservatives announcing they would be joining the march: It was clear that they wouldn’t face a friendly crowd. Numerous signs either calling Rishi Sunak to “Fuck off”. Or asking people why they are “More scared of trans people than a tory government”

There were some Tory Critical signs at London Pride, including this one. In this photo we have Bimini Bon Boulash wearing this interesting costume. Speaking of which, costumes and outfits seem to be something both prides do have in common. In Trans pride, one costume which could possibly be a reference to a meme subreddit called r/transclones. And when this picture was posted to the subreddit, it was the most upvoted photo of the day. 

Another similarity aside from awesome costumes, is the presence of some celebrities.One such example was the heartstopper cast. And the way they attended these prides highlighted the key difference between the two.
At London Pride, Netflix made an elaborate float with signage and branding everywhere. And the cast stood atop. 

Whilst at Trans Pride London, they were marching with the crowd. The presence of Netflix was clearly absent. 

A lack of corporate presence at this sort of event isn’t unexpected. There were other organisations who did join in, Stonewall Housing for example did take part, and stonewall too. And in this photo, they recycled a sign they got from London pride, and utilised it for the march at Trans Pride London:

This then shows that Trans Pride London is more environmentally friendly. They don’t take money from fossil fuel polluters. And they recycled their signs.

London Pride came under significant criticism for taking sponsorship money from United Airlines and other companies which culminated in Just Stop Oil attempting to disrupt and protest the pride because of it. 

And with torrential rain in the middle of July, we can safely blame climate change for the rain that we had on the day. And at Trafalgar square, it was a sea of umbrellas at Trans Pride. 

While the topic of climate change change was in everyone’s minds at London Pride, Healthcare was one topic that was a constant theme. Signs everywhere, and one sign I saw highlighted this. 

Every single photo I edited,I boosted the colour on them, but this one, this felt like it needed some desaturation. 

On these signs, it told the story of a trans girl called Alice. Alice was a 20 year old trans woman. She had been on the waiting list for gender affirming healthcare for 1023 days, and tragically died by suicide. 

A tragedy which clearly highlights why healthcare is such a prominent subject. You can check out the Campaign for Alice instagram page here. 

Healthcare did appear at London Pride too, just in a different manner. There were NHS staff, and doctors claiming they were “Fighting” for trans people. But direct criticisms weren’t something I saw a lot of on the London pride march. 

And there was a large raft of topics at both prides too. At the London Pride, there was a lot of emphasis on the campaign to stop AIDS. mainly with the recent opt out testing of aids in the NHS, there was cause for celebration. 

The recent culture warring on trans people and sports did also make an appearance too. In London Pride, I caught this photo of a rower holding a sign saying “Trans Rowers are oarsome”.

With the RHSE review coming up and the guidance on Trans Kids and news on what that will bring. There were a lot of mentions of LGBT education in both prides. And generally about protecting trans kids. 

And with that impending, and rumoured to possibly be released for consultation for the start of the next school year, there is a sense of urgency about it. And with the government actively looking at amending the equality act. And as drag events are attacked by Fascists, It felt like Trans Pride London wanted to convey a sense of urgency as to what is happening. 

Whilst Trans Pride highlighted the urgency, London Pride gave more of an air of optimism. Whilst they did put trans people front and centre with their never march alone campaign. It wasn’t the same as Trans Pride. 

When I was at Trans Pride London, it was clearer to see the anger and the passion of everyone there. And everyone was proud and defiant and will continue to be, no matter what comes our way. 

If someone asked me which pride was better. I don’t know what I could say, these were the first 2 prides I have ever been to. I enjoyed the party atmosphere of London pride. Trans news is a depressing cycle. Doom and gloom. When it came to taking photos on the parade, it was a lot easier. 

Trans pride was very enjoyable too. The shorter march made it easier to walk, and the smoke bombs and what I saw made it, in a way. More exciting. 

At the start, I said “Pride is often described as either a party or a protest.”. I am not sure how I would describe it. But given its similarities. It isn’t a clear cut answer. And if I wanted to get into it more thoroughly, it would have to be an article in itself. 

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