Somehow we managed to get not only the polycule but some friends and acquaintances all together at Pride In Surrey in Godalming yesterday. What a day!
I made sure to find appropriate flags, a Pride gamers tshirt, and went to town on the beard with coloured hairspray to match the bi-flag. I got a lot of compliments, and I thanked my stars for the experience of creating my Obadiah Stane cosplay and the beard dyeing required for that.
We had to get there early as I was in the Parade, so we split and arranged a meetup point for later. I eventually found the way to the assembly area, chatting with various random people along the way. It wasn’t the most precise staging and organisation in the world but it felt appropriately anarchic for Pride’s origins – and soon enough we were winding our way up along Godalming’s High Street
It was my first Parade, and it felt good to be in good company and an atmosphere mixing joy, protest, and representation. Surrounded by work colleagues, associated organisations, and family groups, we brought colour and noise and cheering to a normally very sleepy small Surrey town.
What was heartwarming was the support along the high street from families and businesses alike. People of all ages and backgrounds wanting to see what was going on, and cheering along. It was all a very strange, as in unfamiliar, experience – and one that I want to be part of again – with extra performance next time.
Even slightly grey and misty weather didn’t dampen anyone’s mood, and in the polycule we spent a good few hours taking turns to venture out in small groups from our blankets and bags base to explore and meet people.
We may have bought more gin.
What was also wonderful was that there was a quiet section set away for young families which included stalls for support services and advice on health. The library was well represented, as were a number of other areas of both the County and Local Government organisations, staffed by volunteers.
I’d love to see more participation by other areas and teams, so I plan to advocate for that for next time – even off duty my brain keeps looking for improvements.
Long day short, a great day, especially coming out the other side of lockdown and pandemic, and especially with so many other Pride events cancelled. As I said to one of our Councillors: its a good start.