The first-ever Trans Pride for Brighton kicks off tomorrow (Friday) evening, and goes on till Sunday. An overview can be found at http://transpridebrighton.tumblr.com/.
It's actually Trans* Pride, the asterisk meaning that all kinds of trans people will be welcome. So not just full-blown transsexual boys and girls; it's anyone at all with a gender issue. I am not involved in any way with its format, organisation or anything else. I am simply a possible spectator.
As I say, it's the first such event. It'll be feeling its way, and there's no loud march through the town to Preston Park. The accent is on quiet celebration, and quiet explanation to those curious to find out more. There is entertainment. The programme begins on Friday evening with films at a cinema; Saturday sees the big gathering just off the seafront, with a club event in town later; and Sunday is a big family picnic. It should be a great way to spend a sunny weekend in Brighton, and meet up with many people.
This event is not to be confused with the well-established annual Brighton Pride in early August - see http://brighton-pride.org/ - where the big thing is your gay or lesbian sexuality, and to celebrate it in huge style with a series of massive happenings.
The late-July Trans Pride is about gender only, which may seem to the ordinary public much the same thing as one's sexuality - in other words, who you fancy. But look at it this way: being trans says nothing specific about your sexual orientation. You could be gay, lesbian. bisexual, asexual or simply not bothered. If some trans people are also gay or lesbian, they might certainly be interested in both types of Pride. But being trans does not automatically mean you want to wave a big rainbow flag.
So will I be there this weekend?
Well, I wasn't going to be there at all. Saturday is the twentieth anniversary of a meal in Henley-on-Thames that M--- and I shared in 1993. We weren't a couple then. We were still just friends who went walking together, and we planned to try a hike on the Chilterns. M--- also had some relatives in Henley, and if they were in she intended to say hello. They were out, and, feeling hungry, we had a meal in an Italian restaurant that was still there some years ago. It's therefore also the twentieth anniversary of my being introduced to tagliatelle in basil pesto with parmisan cheese on top. So this Saturday I was going to drive to Henley, find the restaurant, and have the exact same meal. I really place that kind of value on anniversaries! And then take it from there: there's plenty to see in that lush part of the Thames valley, and plenty of breeze up on the Chilterns if it felt a bit too hot.
You must be mad, you might say. What is the point? But you are not me. There is no law that says pointless anniversaries must without fail be deleted from electronic diaries. I would not obey such laws anyway. There are in fact many events that pop up in my diary, to remind me of this or that, and not just things M--- and I once did. I like to be reminded of them. I'm historically-minded.
But not all of them can be observed.
On this occasion, I shall bow to urgings and persuasions and turn up in Brighton around 2.30pm, park Fiona on a day visitor's parking permit, and sashay along the seafront to the New Steine venue. I shall be dressed as my usual self, and behave normally, and hope to spot some faces I know. If I see nobody, I'll try a text or two, and if that draws a blank I will melt away and go home. But at least I'll have come into Brighton and made a gesture of support.