Thursday, 26 August 2010

Bristol Pride, a day of not being a minority!

I wish that I could tell you that it had been a glorious sunny day, but it wasn’t. I wish I could tell that the day stayed dry and bright, but it did not. I am going to tell you though just how much fun I had at Bristol Pride and watching the wife’s band Oestrogenix rock the stage in the Trans Tent.

The day started for me at about half past seven in the morning. Carol was long gone having to be at the Park for eight with the trailer and kit, so I had a nice lay in and awoke bright and early feeling all excited. Pulling on my favourite Marduk shirt and my bike trousers, I got ready for a fast as fuck trip to Bristol on Sylvie, our loveable Suzuki SV650S.

Traffic was light to start with in Weston, but the M5 was a little clogged with holiday traffic and the going was slow up until I got past Clevedon, from here it was a blast to Avonmouth and the turn off for Bristol. Having taken this road before when I went for the crappy job interview in Bristol with the scam company, I knew where I was going and before long I was blasting past my old playground in Avon Gorge. No climbers today though because the rock was greasy and damp. Carol had kindly produced a map for me for when I got close to Pride, which I only had to consult once and that was only because I was unsure about a junction. Turns out I should have followed my nose, because Pride was just around the corner.

Now in case you do not know and this may be news to some of you, there is a reason why I was going to Bristol Pride. You see, technically, when one woman is in love with another woman, they are called lesbians. Lesbians are a part of the LGBT community. LGBT is the grouping that includes, but is not limited to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender people. Also often known as Dykes, Fags, Poofs and Trannies. However, if you are a part of this spectrum of people, you will know that these words are more often spat with hate rather than spoken to us. Pride is about people like us saying loudly and Proudly, I am Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender and there is nothing bad about it. Fuck it; at Pride it is the straight “ordinary” folk who are in the minority and I have to be honest, given some the straight “normal” folk I have met, I will gladly take a field of dykes any day.

Pride is an important aspect of Homosexual and Transgender life, with out the People who started Pride, there are many of us who would still live in fear, persecuted by the law for simply being what comes naturally to us. I would say with conviction that the Pride movement has given us greater rights and respect from an otherwise judgemental society. For this reason, Pride gets our support.

So I pull up in the bike park and take all of Sylvie’s locks out of my seat pack.

  • Yellow Oxford Disklock
  • Black D-Lock
  • Black Magnum Disklock and Chain

One disk lock for each wheel, a heavy duty armoured chain and a D-lock through the forks, just to make things difficult. Any thief that can get through this lot, the steering lock and the alarm is damn clever and should be employed by the lock companies to show them how it is done. Giving her a see you later pat, I headed off to the still setting up Pride event and to find Carol.
Oestrogenix had been invited to play in the Trans Tent by the Western Boys, a group that offers friendship, support and advice to a group of ordinary men. Men who happen to have been born with the wrong genitals. Trans Men have a tough time of it, they are often short, look soft and gentle despite beards and crew cuts and have to endure some horribly cruel tricks played on them by Mother Nature. Trans women have similar if opposite issues. We are often tall, well built and muscular and fuck me is it painful having a face full of beard burned out with a laser and electrolysis needle. Next time you are out with your mates and you see a trans person, be fucking polite. They have endured more than you will ever know just to be where they are stood at that moment. If you can’t be polite, then shut the fuck up and don’t stare, it is rude and quite often, they already feel self conscious enough with out your input. Trust me, I have been there. Yeah, I am angry, but then I lost a job I loved due to transphobic prejudice. This is why Pride is so important.

The stage in the Trans tent was set and the tent was nicely tidy, with the PA set up and Carol and Lucile looking relaxed and busy. Nikki the sound engineer looked very chilled and I was greeted with a warm welcome from everyone. Carol was tired and still gave me the biggest kiss I had all week. She looked excited and was bubbly in that special way she has when preparing for a performance. Stepping back, I looked at my beautiful girlfriend and I felt a heart full of Pride, just to be with her.

Bristol was about to be inundated with the local and not so local LGBT community and those folks who were friends, family or just believed that every one should be equal. The march started at twelve opposite the Hippodrome and there was a huge crowd, supported by a group of Samba drummers. I had contacted my biking friend (who should by now be familiar to you) Stu about meeting him. He is not Gay, but I am among his gay friends and he as going to come along with another. Sadly Stu was poorly (I suspect freshers flu had got to him, the joys of being a student!), but Nikki his delightful Girlfriend and her friend Pauline were trying to find us. They found us pretty quickly and just as they said hello, me being the bitch that I am pretended to be some one else! The two young women looked confused for a second until I smiled and said hello properly. Some times my sense of humour just misses!

Pauline, Nikki and your author

Let me tell you about Nikki and Pauline, just so you can be jealous. Both of them are very pretty, early twenties students with smiles and hearts that are a credit to them. Stu (Nikki’s fella) is a lucky guy, but we don’t want to embarrass them both too much, do we?

The March started and the whistles and cheers were deafening. Traffic ground to a halt and some wicked looking Drag Queens, in heels that frankly would have scared me, tottered along ahead of us. I was in my combat patterned Bike trousers, my Marduk shirt and boots so big, I was two inches taller.

Hello Mum! I am at Pride and it is great!

I was filled with the spirit of Pride, even if I could not hear it! The March went right passed Bristol Bike show and we got cheers and support from the bikers too. It was great thing to feel and Carol walked along either holding my hand or taking the photos you can now see. Oh yes, Pride means a lot.

The march ended back at the park and we headed back up to the arena and they got ready for the first act of the day, Kris, the guy who had worked so hard to organise the Trans tent. 

Although he looked like a super hero in his Pride outfit of the day. Kris was also in charge of making badges and he kindly helped me to make a couple.

My first was a rainbow with the legend:

Trans Biker

While the second, suitably enough for me, read:

Trans Hooligan

Oh yes, I am that woman that your Mother warned you about when you young!

The acts that played in the Trans Tent were either inspirational or emotive. However the Trans Man Stand Up Comedian and recent father of a bouncing baby boy was so brilliantly talented, that I actually thought I was going to cry. I wish that I could remember his name, because I would tell you to go and find him and listen to him perform.

Nikki the sound tech has a daughter called Lou and she teamed up with our good friend Zed (who had even brought her beautiful son Pipin with her) and also took to the stage. 

Zed has a rich quality to her singing voice that is just beautiful, however when you realise what the words are that she is singing you realise that her mind and wit are as sharp as an assassin’s blade. Lou played her guitar with perfection given that she was asked to perform only minutes before and seeing them both performing this fantastic number together will go down in my life as one of the glad I saw it events. It was brilliant and they received a justified round of applause.

Finally Carol and the girls took to the stage, just as the heavens opened. The stage flooded and Carol’s drum pedal started to so slip and float away as the rain water flooded in through the gaps in the tent covers. A brief stop so that she could get her pedal back and they were back on and once again performing with their usual professional approach. They do not play like a small band that practices in our hallway, Lucile has the stage presence that you would expect from a big name band, she sings with passion and with her heart in the performance, Carol is intense when she is drumming, focussed and calm and the mystery bassist is there with her unknown face, hidden in the shadows of her secret identity. Will we ever know who she is?

Pride slowly came to an end and with the kit all packed away, I faced the ride home in pouring rain. However, being warm rain made it bearable and the road took me back through the gorge and onto the Motorway. A quick stop for a waking hot drink was needed after such a long hard day, but I was soon back in the saddle and blasting back down the motorway and home. On the SV forum I often read of SV’s that suffer with wet plug, a condition that causes the front cylinder to fail and for a huge power loss as soon as the weather gets damp. Sylvie though is a trooper and all she wants to do skip in puddles, dance in the gutter and flutter her umbrella about her in true Singing in the rain style. Her road manners are impeccable and she rides as smoothly in the rain as she does in the cool summer evenings. Finally as we got home and parked up outside the garage, the rain stopped and as she cooled and ticked, I exhaustedly removed my wet bike gear and thanked her for another fantastic ride. I sprayed her up with GT85 before retiring her to bed and locking her back up with all of her locks.

Pride, what a totally brilliant day. A huge thank you to Oestrogenix for making it a great day out and to the other performers who gave it everything to make the day a success. See you all next year.