Tuesday, 9 October 2018

Manchester Pride

Manchester Pride – Some After Thoughts

This year I finally got to take part in the Manchester Pride march. It was stunning; I enjoyed it so much and felt a real energy and excitement. I marched with my new Unitarian friends. It felt so good to be seen among a religious group that welcomes and indeed will marry LBGTQ+ people. The march was delayed for half an hour due to an evangelical Christian protest against it. This may well have added to the warmth of the reception we received on the march particularly from young people.
When we see some people as different or ‘other’ to our selves it can be the start of something not good, even toxic. Yes we all have differences around class, age, sex, race, gender, faith, disability and health. But these differences can be the basis of prejudice – conscious or unconscious. ‘Othering’ is one way of thinking about and catching hold of this moment. Think for a moment about the wonderful T shirt that says ‘Never kissed a Tory’. That is ‘othering’. There are some decent good Tory voters out there and even the odd MP. OK the T shirt is a joke but….
So welcoming different people rather than ‘othering’ them changes our faith groups, Bridge classes, workplaces etc. for the better. But it feels even more than that to me; when I stop ‘othering’ you I also stop ‘othering’ parts of myself.

I have a very good old friend of mine who has been in hospital, in intensive care for all of the summer. We used to go to a weekly Bridge class together and then have lunch over which we put the world to rights as well as occasional bike rides. He retired the year before me, also has grandchildren, has an understanding of the therapy world (which is important to me) and shares most of my politics. In his absence from my life, since even though I visit him regularly most of the time he has been unable to speak, I have reflected on what he means to me.

He has meant many seemingly little things to me, mostly unacknowledged until now but when this is all added up I start to see that it is about love. I then reflect on the other men who are important to me (and women too) and acknowledge that I love them as well. So when I get forms that ask me: am I single, married, divorced etc. or straight/ heterosexual, gay, lesbian, trans etc I feel this is missing the real or fuller me. It is no longer whether I have sex with someone that defines who I am its whether I love them or not. This may reflect my age but I am glad to know this and it feels like it is part of my ongoing experience of Glad Pride.