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  • Laura Kate Dale

Pride 2021 Feature: Our Homemade Slice of Pride

People happily celebrating Pride with rainbow flags and bright clothing.
Pride 2021 is the second year in a row to see reduced in-person events due to Covid.

Thinking back to the start of 2020, when global lockdowns were first being rolled out around the world and large scale gatherings were being cancelled left and right, one of the first events I knew would be a necessary casualty was Pride.

I’ve always been the kind of person to follow the science. If there’s an infectious and deadly disease we need to curb the spread of, then events where huge crowds of people cheer, shout, sing, and often embrace are going to be some of the first to go. I knew Pride events were going to need to take a year off, but it didn’t make it suck any less.

I live in the UK, and on an average year I’ll probably attend two or three different Pride events across the summer. There’s London Pride, a hugely corporate event with barriers between crowds and those marching that’s mainly there to be a big rainbow party; Brighton Pride, a similar event that feels a bit more human due to its lack of barriers; and Trans Pride Brighton, a protest march rather than a corporate parade that starts with angry chants in the streets and ends with beautiful performances in a lovely secluded garden.

Some of these are events I attend to celebrate, and recharge my pansexual energy. Sure, corporate Pride is tacky, but being around my friends and lovely strangers, cheering on love and happiness is an important antidote to the unrelenting attacks currently facing queer and trans people in the UK and United States. It’s an excuse to forget about the bigots of the world, and for a few hours inhabit a reality where everyone is queer, and I am simply safe.

Some of them I attend for catharsis, to raise my voice in anger and take up space, demanding my right to exist visibly and inconveniently. Some of them I attend just to feel less alone, and share a safe welcoming space with other trans people like myself.

As we approach Pride Month 2021, and it becomes clear that most global Pride events are going to need to take a second year off, I’ve been thinking a lot about the importance of Pride events in my life. The last two years have been pretty rough for LGBTQIA+ rights, with the UK recently refusing to ban gay conversion therapy without a consultation first, and both the UK and US pushing constantly to try and strip away the rights of myself and other trans people. It has been a year where the right to protest has been challenged under the justification of public health, and a year where many of us have lacked both a sense of community, and a sense of collective voice.

So, this year during Pride Month, I’ll be bringing the spirit of Pride home by finding ways to celebrate in style.

Live, From Pride 2021

If you want to celebrate Pride from home this year, how can you go about it? Well, here’s what I’ve got planned.

If you have a look around online, you’ll find a lot of Pride events have moved online this year. Sure, you might not get the crowds, or the parades, but you might well be able to find livestreams of talks, music, performances, and speeches from LGBTQIA+ voices. Much like last year, I’m going to tune into the Trans Pride Brighton livestream, and spend a day immersed in important expressions of trans identity. From poetry to real life stories, I plan to spend the day sharing space with trans voices.

Pride celebrations certainly don’t need to involve alcohol, they don’t for many, but for me getting a little day drunk in the sun with my wife and feeling very gay for each other is a big part of Pride. So I’ll probably get a few drinks in and spend some of the day sitting out on our front steps together, just enjoying each other’s company and celebrating our love for each other.

Additionally, what Pride celebration would be complete without a healthy dose of pageantry? Just because I’m not going out in person to celebrate doesn’t mean I can’t dress up garishly for the occasion. Rainbow leggings, a Pride flag top, a metric ton of glitter, a flag worn as a cape, and some rainbow face paint, will make sitting around in the living room a little more festive. It will make the day feel special, the way you would if other people were watching.

In the evening, I’ll get all my queer friends together on Zoom, and we can chat the night away. Maybe we’ll watch a film together with good gay energy, or just a bunch of LGBTQIA+ TikTok videos, spending time revelling in the fun, and the struggles, of our shared identities. We can laugh, we can cry, and we can simply quietly appreciate the fact we all found each other in this world.

Keeping the Celebration -- And Serious Conversations -- Alive

For me, taking part in Pride at home is about celebration, but it’s also about the more serious parts of the journey we still have ahead of us. Last Year’s Trans Pride Brighton livestream, for example, was a celebration in places, but it also featured impassioned talks about the struggles we face, the things we need to improve on as a community, and the importance of having hope for a better tomorrow. Sure, this year I’ll get a bit drunk, dress up, and hang out with my friends, but I’ll also take some time to be introspective. Once more people are vaccinated, and it’s safer to go back out into the world, we’ve got a hell of a fight ahead of us, and we need to balance celebration with restoration. We need to build up reserves for the battles ahead.

In the coming months, we need to really make an effort to get cis, straight people to take the fight for LGBTQIA+ rights seriously. We need to get out in the streets and protest having our rights removed, but we need to find a way to get cis, straight allies to step up to that fight, too.

We need to address issues such as the lack of intersectional representation at Pride events in years past. We need to seriously address the reasons that disabled and non-white LGBTQIA+ people are often made to feel unwelcome at Pride events, and how we can fix that going forward.

We need to have serious conversations about the role of police at Pride events, and the very nature of corporate Pride.

We need to work out how to better counter the anti-trans narrative that is growing exponentially more prevalent across the world.

But this Pride month, I’m going to celebrate spectacularly from home. Pride is an important moment of recharging and recovery, and I intend to make this Pride as over the top as possible, even if it’s just taking place in my living room.

Laura Kate Dale is an autistic trans woman and author. Her first book, Uncomfortable Labels, is about living at the intersection of trans and autistic. Her second book, Things I Learned From Mario's Butt, is a silly and serious book of video game character butt reviews and illustrations. Her third book, releasing June 10th, is Gender Euphoria, an anthology of non cis writers positive, gender affirming stories.

Social Imprints is a San Francisco based eco-friendly merchandise, promotional products, and swag company. Our social mission is in the very DNA of who we are -- we’re committed to being an employer for at-risk adults. As part of our “Give 2021 a Shot” campaign, we’re presenting Pride articles throughout the months of May and June. If you are a business looking for Pride swag for your company, make sure to check out our 2021 Pride swag collection!

1 comment

1 Comment

Jun 20, 2021

Hi Laura--just typing in to say I just finished uncomfortable labels and I loved it :) I picked it up because I am recently diagnosed autistic and I ended up learning a lot about autistic experience and especially a lot about transgender issues that I didn't know. Thanks for telling such an honest and personal story. I'm looking forward to the upcoming anthology and I might pick up the butts one just for giggles. Happy pride month!

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