Yesterday was a beautiful day in Brighton. I gather from Bethany Black that other parts of the country were actually hot (by which I mean over 30C), but here it was warm with a cool sea breeze. It was ideal for just about everything except spending the whole day out in the sun on your feet, which is of course exactly what I was planning to do.
I began with an hour’s stroll along the sea front from Hove to Kemptown. You can very quickly tell why Brighton has a trans pride, because trans people don’t particularly stand out here. I passed a lot of people in (fake) grass skirts on their way to an event in Hove. When I got to Brighton there was a big group of obvious gay boys heading to the beach wearing Victorian women’s bathing costumes. Later in the day there was apparently a mermaid march through the town in aid of marine conservation (something I would love to have supported). And at night the stag and hen parties come out, both of which appear to involve adopting over-the-top feminine gender presentation.
This year saw the first Trans Pride March, and by “first” I mean not just for Brighton, but apparently for the whole of Europe. I know, San Francisco friends, what took us so long, eh? But we have got there. The marchers, some 450 in all, assembled at the Marlborough and walked up St. James St. through Kemptown to the park where the Pride was being staged. I was lucky enough to be invited to sit in on the rehearsals for Rainbow Chorus, Brighton’s LGBT choir, who provided some of the music for the march. You’ll be hearing more from them on the radio in the coming weeks.
The event was officially opened by Caroline Lucas, MP for Brighton Pavilion (and therefore for Kemptown). She gave a rousing speech calling for an end to discrimination against trans people by the media, the government and the health service. I was very impressed.
After the opening ceremonies I went for a sit down out of the sun, finding a lovely little Thai restaurant called Sawadee just around the corner. There was a large party of young Thai people in there, so you don’t need my recommendation.
The afternoon was spent gathering interviews. I have a bunch of vox pops that I need to edit together, plus a number of longer pieces with people like Sarah Savage, Fox & Lewis, and trans model Nicole Gibson who was MCing the event. Alice Denny gave me a reading of a poem that she had written for the event, and I can guarantee you’ll get that on the radio soon.
During periods when there were rock bands on stage and interviewing was impossible I tried to get some shade and rest. Huge thanks to the barmaid in Neighborhood Kitchen who made me a wonderful non-alcoholic mojito when I desperately needed something long and cool that wasn’t water.
Part of the celebrations for the day were provided by Brighton*Transformed, a local history project focusing solely on the trans community and managed by my friend Kathy Caton who also produces the Out In Brighton radio show. They had got large posters featuring photographs of their subjects in many of the shop windows along the route of the march. In the evening they projected 30-foot square photos onto the wall of the (very supportive) Unitarian Church. Here’s the one of Sarah:
As you can see, this took place in a very busy location, with lots of local people and tourists out on the town for Saturday night.
The final event of the evening was the afterparty, for which the opening act was comic, Bethany Black. Beth has given me a lovely interview about the new Russell T. Davis TV series that she has been acting in. That too will be on the radio soon. And of course I finally got to see Beth perform, which was great.
I managed to get back to the hotel just before midnight. The damn seagulls woke me up at 6:00am again. It is definitely seagull pie for them if I catch them.
Update: I forgot to note that, despite it being Saturday night, I got a table at Indian Summer, one of the finest Indian restaurants I know. It is a foodie place — obviously, I like it — but if you like that sort of thing it is well worth going to.