Saturday 23rd May I finished work at 8.30am to rush home to take my dog Mollie out and get changed. I managed to do everything by 9.30am just as my cab arrived to take me to the train station.
I think I looked pretty cool having been awake since 3pm on the Friday and having to complete a 12 hour shift at work. The skirt I got from a Burlesque shop. Love it even though it was held together by a tying a bow! The lipstick was from Lush. The vegan shoes from Schuh. The jacket was made and designed by an Anglo-Asian designer in Birmingham. Most material locally sourced. The rest found in other parts of the UK. The Pistols t-shirt arrived that morning! The fishnets I get from Poland!
The train ride to Birmingham was pretty uneventful though I did get some looks as I walked down the carriage looking for a seat! Transphobic attitudes still alive in some people’s heads. Eventually I arrive in New Street and head straight towards Victoria Square where the Pride Parade was starting out. I thought it seemed it wasn’t going to be many participating then all of a sudden all these wonderful people came out of nowhere! What a sight!
I loved the fact that so many trade unions were out to support Birmingham Pride. It was also great to see ‘Lesbian And Gays Support The Miners’ there too! Not only that but it was great that it just wasn’t about LGBT pride and issues. Problems that affect us all were high on the agenda including the evil Austerity measures and uions collecting for women affected by Domestic Violence etc.
I’m not only openly trans and pansexual. I speak out and raise awareness regards domestic violence. It’s an important issue. The Tories cuts have seen a few women’s refuges shut down. This cannot be allowed to happen again. I’m proud to wear the pin.
Despite my intentions to walk with the Trade Union block I came across a small organisation called the Naz And Matt Foundation. Their mission is to never let religion, any religion, come in the way of the unconditional love between parents and their children. Please do check it out the foundation. Above I am holding their banner.
Halfway through the parade I head off to find another battery for my phone which I found even though £10 was a bit more than I intended to pay!
I also popped into Ignite Records to see my mate Rich and part with money in return for some cool tunes on vinyl. All sorted. On the way out someone shouted some transphobic abuse at me. He clearly didn’t have the Pride party feeling! Surprisingly his friend pulled him up and pointed out if I had shouted racist abuse at him he would be pissed off. That struck a chord and the lad came up and apologised.
Off I went and headed towards the Gay Quart to catch up with the parade. I get there but I wasn’t paying £20 to get in the main event as none of the artists appealed to me. Where were the Punk, HC and Ska bands on the bill?
Walking about I was chatting to a few folk I knew some I hadn’t seen in years. A great time despite it being very busy! Large crowds aren’t my thing at all!
I stumbled across a female activist handing out the above leaflet. The leaflet was advertising a LGSM event at Birmingham LGBT Centre. Once I got directions I headed straight to the centre where I got the last ticket for the event.
Hanging about feeling rather tired I thought I saw Mike Jackson one of the original LGSM members who the film Pride was based on. I wasn’t too sure then he came up and introduced himself. It was a nice gesture that Mike had remembered me from posting and tweeting about my support for the LGSM. Baring in mind the amount of people who post on the LGSM pages. Top person!
Soon it was time to head in to watch the 23 minute documentary on the LGSM during the Miner’s Strike of ’84-85. Very inspiring it was too! Really enjoyed it! In the room I met two cool women who recognised me from the LGSM page. We talked a bit about what I was doing campaign wise.
Once the documentary was over we went upstairs were a question and answers session was to take place. On the panel were members of the LSGM, a former striking miner and a union official. Sorry can’t remember all the names. I was so tired at that point but the inspiration of hearing the LGSM tell their story kept me going.
The panel was great hearing their opinions to the questions directed at them. For me Nicola Field stood out. Nicola really hit home why it’s important to unite all grassroots Left Wing activists to build on something to take on the Tories and their austerity policies. I’ve been saying the same thing for ages so it was nice to hear it from Nicola and others who were in agreement. Let’s hope we can all work together to kick the Tories out and in doing so create a movement that will always be strong enough to challenge them!
Closing the meeting was a performance by the Birmingham Clarion Singers. They sang ‘The Jolly Pitman aka Down in the Coal Mine’, ‘Close The Coal-house Door’ and ‘Stand Out Ye Miners’.
On the way out Gethin Roberts said hi and we had a bit of a chat. Like Mike another person great with faces. Puts me to shame really! Bumped into Mike again and said our goodbyes then it was off to the train station for me. Homeward bound and straight to my comfy bed!
Thanks to Birmingham Pride, The LGSM and the Birmingham LGBT centre for an awesome experience.
If you want to help fight the Tories and their austerity measures then head over to the LSGM Page.
Words: Steve DIY
Photos: Steve DIY, Birmingham Pride & unknown sources.