Two Prides in One Day!
How to appreciate both Pride events in the style of Margo & Mildred.
We are fortunate in Glasgow to have two Pride festivals; on the same day! One is Pride Glasgow and the other is Free Pride. Yesterday one was out in the rain and one was cosier inside. I would say having two highlights the intersections of The LGBT community across class, culture and gender. I also call them the Margo Leadbetter (The Good Life) and Mildred Roper (George & Mildred) of Prides. If you are not sure of my old British comedy tv references then hopefully this article will still make sense.
From my perspective Pride Glasgow grew and developed to become Scotland’s biggest celebration of LGBT life. It took the many international Prides as a blueprint, one which stands astride a whole weekend and attracts headline acts. With this comes an increase in ticket price because you can’t produce a big event like this without funding.
This increase in size and what some felt was the marginalisation of some of the LGBT community for profit created a movement for a Free Pride. This relied on support and fundraising but kept the community spirit and purpose of Pride.
This is not to say Pride Glasgow does not address the community. I would say it does without a doubt. They do however address and appeal to differing aspects of the LGBT community, that common thread that binds us together whether explicit or implicit.
There is more to the LGBT than the habitus of a community.
There is more to the characteristic habitus of Pride in Glasgow. Free Pride took place at the Glasgow School of Art. For me this creates an atmosphere of university education, a classier disposition to the event and a more middle class feeling that does not forget our reasons for marching and gathering each year.
The habitus of Pride Glasgow is in a common use space of Glasgow Green. It’s ticket entrance, stalls and entertainment are for a general engagement across class, culture and gender. I would say though that income to afford a ticket could and would cross different sections because, while the cost needs to sustain the scale of Pride Glasgow, people will be assessing value for money before paying up, but if it is your main event of the year to be free from fear and not feel different you probably will save and pay. However, it was great that young people had access to free tickets.
I’m using Pierre Bourdieu’s habitus because Free Pride has grown from a community within a community who no longer believe in the social action of Pride which created a space for likeminded individuals and supporters, an objection to the commercialised social structure of Pride festivals.
The common event of Pride should always be the March. We should march in solidarity and often there will be articles or rhetoric that there is no reason for Pride and the march. I would comment that I’ve thought of that before and wonder about my representation at Pride.
Free Pride has changed that view. If we are an LGBT community, one created in defiance and collective fight for civil rights and equality, we should support each intersection of the community. From my own standpoint my equality and rights is much better in legislation and society in comparison to other sections of the community. However I’m there as an allie for the community and why I wanted to go to Free Pride was to show support. It was an interesting event with community stalls and workshops then club style night.
What each Pride should aim to achieve is compliment each other. There is the possibility that Free Pride will present as elite where it really is open to all across class, education and culture.
In my own gay TV heaven mind I see Free Pride as the Margo Leadbetter (The Good Life) of the Prides and Pride Glasgow as the Mildred Roper (George and Mildred) of Prides. Mildred, from a low income background had the opportunity to posh herself and wanted to assimilate into her new middle-class community to better herself. Mildred might go to Free Pride but would Margo go to Glasgow Pride?
Margo, a stalwart of London’s Surbiton and the Local drama group would stick to the community stalls at Pride Glasgow, constantly looking for the Conservative stall but not up for chibbin’ it ten rapid at the front of the main stage.
Mildred would have been very colourful on the March and at Free Pride. She would be looking for the Campari and Soda, or maybe a Babycham. George may be dragged behind or left at home; he may embarrass her around the stalls.
Both Prides are equally valuable and should be celebrated. This celebration should be a solidarity march then two spaces that function to offer a habitus to all LGBT+ identities. Margo and Mildred may not get along, but their aims are the same.