Pride Vibes 2017: Exeter Pride

Samathy from Stories by Samathy on Medium

Young people in Exeter’s Pride Parade

Pride Vibes: As a photographer for Gay Pride Pics, I attend lots of Prides across the UK every year. Each Pride has a different feel. This series will describe what each Pride was like and what the vibe of the pride was like.

The entire series is my opinion and mine only. Take it as you will. Note that this opinion comes from a 20 something extroverted transwoman who is herself a pride organiser.

I’m still working out what this series is going to be like. Bear with me.

Next: Birmingham Pride

My first Pride of the 2017 season was eagerly anticipated. The weather looked promising and the prospect of attending a Pride I hadn't yet visited was exciting.

Exeter Pride 2017 is the 9th Pride in the city, run by an experienced team.

The flag is lifted at the start of the parade

Exeter’s Pride parade starts off at a Church in the centre of the city.
I arrived and was greeted by a very friendly and seemingly super well organised set of volunteers and organisers.

Gathering for the start of the parade took place in the grounds of the church.

I was really happy to see tens of young people being hustled by the volunteers to carry the super long rainbow flag. It felt super welcoming to see so many people younger than myself happy to be carrying the flag through the city.

I noted the lack of corporate groups in the initial parade organising.
The church grounds were buzzing with excitement.

As well as young people featuring in the parade there were a suitable amount of costume wearing people too. I spotted someone in a horse mask, furries, dragged up people and the parade was lead by The Centurion.

A huge rainbow flag carried by mostly young people, onlookers watch.

The parade wound through the city, attracting hundreds of onlookers, most of which didn’t seem to have planned to see a parade that day.

The parade was a very happy affair, everyone in it was really pleased to be there.

There were no chants during the parade and very few groups taking advantage of the platform to use it for protest.
I wouldn’t say it was a ‘carnival’ parade since it was mostly people walking holding onto the flag, but it certainly was not a protest march.

The police marched in the parade, as did a group of Christian pastors.

The parade was just about the right length and generally felt like a really nice place to be. I think this was mainly because it was almost entirely young people marching for themselves and for Pride, rather than corporations and charitable organisations.

Exeter Pride was relaxed

The main event was an outdoor field affair with a single stage, and a fair amount of community and commercial stalls.

Being a completely free to attend event, Exeter Pride maintained the relaxed and welcoming feel that the parade exuded.

Mostly people found their spot on the sunny grass and stayed there all day.
The event felt very chill and very calm.

Although there were bars were not fenced in, there was not a huge amount of uncomfortably drunk people around. People seemed to be content with eating the great food and didn't need to go wild, even into the evening.

I was made really comfortable by the Chair of Exeter Pride delivering a speech on the main stage at the beginning of the event, he said, amongst other things:

‘Straight people are welcome here, but you’re our guests in our space, remember that’

as well as making sure to remind people that:

‘Although many of us have won our battles, there are still members of our community who face adversity every day.’

That really helped me to to feel welcome.

Exeter Pride attracted all kinds of people

The event was attended by lots of different people. Although it was certainly awash with white faces, we saw young people, older people and disabled people attending and having a great time.

Overall, Exeter Pride managed to create a very safe feeling happy Pride with a great community feel and welcoming atmosphere.

Great job, organising committee!!

Next in the Series: Birmingham Pride

Volunteers at Exeter Pride.