Hey everyone Glasgow was wet on Saturday, in fact if truth be told it was very wet and it wasn’t men that were falling from the skies. Because on Pride Saturday Scotland’s weather god had decided it was time to drench the city in the finest fair Saturday tradition. This however did not stop our skies from being awash with more rainbows than you’ll see in 100 000 repeats of the Wizard of Oz
Forget the fact the march which I did not attend on the grounds of its ludicrously early start was not taking us to our traditional home in George Square or even to last year’s venue on Glasgow Green but instead we were made to make do with a car park. Forget also the fact, that for the first time in the history of Pride Glasgow that we were to be charged an entrance fee of £5.00, forget the fact that this combination of facts would be defeat even the most battle hardened of regulars. This is Glasgow and when Glasgow decides she wants to have a party then nothing and I mean is going to stop her.
As I left Baillieston at least an hour later than planned after that great debate I always have with myself about what to wear before going back to my original choice. It’s a girl thing guys you won’t understand so it’s best not even to try, I am glad to say I didn’t have too long to wait on my bus. However whilst I was on the bus I got a phone call from my very good friend Lisa Tait who told me to phone her as soon as I reached the gate.
This I did and to my astonishment I was given a free wristband which was an access all areas pass for which I had to spent not one magic bean.
You see Lisa was part of the Out at Tesco team and I was her VIP Guest. So you may ask why was I given such a lucky break. Well the reasoning behind this was that it was Lisa’s idea that the company use their stall as a transgender tent to create a safe space for trans people within the event and she told me that it was her long standing friendship with me which helped her to come up with it.
As I waited for Lisa to meet at the gate, I was kindly given shelter by the girls from Katie’s Bar and I sure as hell needed it as the rain started to pour. On her arrival I was going through security when my bag was searched for any drink or drugs. I should hasten to add they were never going to find anything on a teetotal non smoker who only had my medication for epilepsy but the guy was only doing his job and I appreciated that. I was quite willingly decided to show him my meds but amazingly enough when Lisa said I was her guest of honour there were no more questions and I was allowed to get on with enjoying my day.
Naturally Lisa took me to the tent straight away where I was given the full VIP treatment of coffee and cup cakes on my arrival. It could have been something stronger had I wished it to be but the fact that I am a non drinker due to long standing medical conditions including epilepsy meant that someone else got my glass of champagne not that I minded in the slightest. I was also introduced to a number of her colleagues and others in the tent and I was quick to sing her praises to anyone and everyone who was willing to listen. This included both workmates and trade union officials.
Eventually my wandering instinct took hold of me and I went on my tour of the stalls. This year I enjoyed chats with co-leader of The Scottish Green Party Patrick Harvie, and representatives from Affirmation Scotland which is the organisation who represent the LGBTI community within the Church of Scotland and as someone who attends my local Church of Scotland almost every week this was very important to me.
As luck would have it, the affirmation stall was located right next to Yes Scotland and I was delighted to assist in whatever small way I could when the chance came to do so. It was during my brief spell at the stall that we had a visit from a superhero and I can exclusively reveal that Spiderman will be voting yes in the independence referendum. I know this as I witnessed him sign the declaration of independence.
It’s good to know that superheroes for yes has its first member. I have no doubt that whilst Batman and Robin may be unwilling to declare their intentions Superman will be voting yes. You see whilst better together may boast support from the man who sold the world David Bowie and the man claimed he saved it, Gordon Brown we get support from those who actually do want to save the world from its worst enemy itself. but hey, that’s enough about Patrick Harvie for one day.
It was also whilst I was at the stall that I picked up my favourite badge of the entire referendum. This sets out of my political agenda far better than any rant or well considered statement and says I only kiss yes voters. Well I’ve got morals you know, and my standards are as high as a teenager’s hem line.
On leaving the yes campaign stall to the tender mercies of Stewart MacDonald, I had a wee chat to the Unite team and informed them that I believed independence would be good for the Labour movement and also the Labour Party providing they get rid of their current leadership. Not surprisingly I didn’t find much resistance to my argument
Having chatted to Unite I decides to venture round a car park in the rain to see what was happening. Normally this would lead to a well meaning stranger phoning the police and me having my sanity questioned. This however was not a normal Saturday this was Glasgow pride and I can’t stress highly enough that this is not a normal day by anybody’s standards. Well where else but Glasgow can you get rainbows in the rain?
Anyway once I had taken in a bit of action from the main stage having watched Karen Dunbar, Edward Read and Amelia Lilley. I decided it was time for another of my famous walkabouts. This time I wandered to the Stonewall Scotland stall where I met a long standing virtual friend Sophie Bridger and it was good to finally get the chance to meet her in person rather than just over the internet. This was I have to say one of the highlights of my day especially since, though we may be on opposing sides in the constitutional debate we have much more in common than what divides us particularly as we both passionately believe in a fairer and kinder world with equality and diversity right at the heart of it.
After chatting to Sophie, it was with a smile a mile wide I made my way back to the trans tent where I caught up with some old friends as well as making new ones. I even read a couple of my trans related poems to a young girl who had told me that though she wasn’t gay she and her mother both loved the LGBTI community because it is so open and friendly and nobody judges anyone. I have to say this is not always true and every community has its fair share of neds and bams but I didn’t want to shatter her illusions. Instead I read her a couple of my poems written about my journey the poems I read were The Lemon Dress which is about growing up with a secret which your mother knows about but won’t admit. I followed it up by reading A Trans Daughter Remembers Her Mother in which I look at the complex relationship I had with my mother through kinder eyes.
After this impromptu performance I met a lovely bi-curious woman who was it has to be said was both pretty and cultured and looked far younger than her mid to late thirties. Whether or not she was attracted to me or the drink I don’t know, but I’ll play it safe and say I think it was the drink.
Eventually I left the tent to go the short distance to the tartan partnerships stage where I saw a mixture of the bold the bizarre and the brilliant entertain us in their own unique way. From burlesque to bands I went through the range of emotions but by far the best act in the tent were a band who have come highly recommended to me by a number of friends and Iain James And The Sound didn’t disappoint. Indeed, their rendition of Sweet Home Alabama was truly brilliant.
During this time I met with long standing friends Michelle and Shania for the first time in god knows how long and Shania was telling me they have just celebrated their five year anniversary. Well there goes another stereotype smashed in a million pieces, namely that same sex couples can’t be faithful. Honestly these two are like a walking advert for a romantic novel their so loved up that the heart hearted amongst you may want to reach for the sick bucket. As for me I just love the fact there still blushing, gushing, and unable to keep their hands off each other. It really is great to
see two wonderful girls so happy.
Meanwhile back on stage after watching a few more acts some of whom were so camp they would make Julian Clary look like Rambo I decided to make one last visit to the trans tent to thank Lisa for all her efforts and for making the day so enjoyable. After all when I left home on Saturday morning I had no idea I would be treated to a VIP reception let alone be guest of honour but she and her Out at Tesco colleges did a great job of treating a lifelong republican like a visiting if slightly mature royal princess.
As our time in the car park came to an end it was time to re-create the rainbow in the bars of the merchant city. As luck would have it I didn’t quite have the finances for a night at the Polo, so I headed instead for a wee refreshment at Delmonica’s before heading home.
As is always the case on these occasions Dels was bursting at the seems. You know it’s a good night when its breathing room only and believe that statement is no exaggeration. This was Dels at its brilliant bolshie breathtaking best. This was my Glasgow all dolled up and ready to party which it did in considerable style. I mean god knows how long I took me to reach the bar let alone get served, and I only wanted a diet coke. Not that I’m complaining, quite the reverse actually. Well it was pride and to be honest I would have been gutted if it had been any other way. I do have to say however that the queue for the ladies was so deep that you would have more chance of gaining quick entry into a Commonwealth Games event. Honestly it does take a wee while and to think I used to wonder where I perfected routines for Highland and Irish dancing. Trust me when I say that women will understand that comment so much more than men will.
Anyway after exiting the Ladies room I was back upstairs enjoying when another yes voter got chatting to me about a couple of my numerous badges. It transpired that she not only liked my Women for Independence badge, but was even more taken by my I Only Kiss Yes Voters one and asked if I would pose for a photograph which she would post on her Indy Girls page. Naturally I duly obliged and that was my last meaningful contribution to Pride Glasgow before heading for the bus which would take me back home to the village.
On arriving back in Baillieston I returned to the safety of my flat and told my flatmate all about my day. As I made myself a coffee and relaxed after an exhausting day of networking and socialising, I reflected that it was a day which not only contained many unexpected surprises but it can be summed up by saying that it though I had cup cakes, chat, and was a VIP in a transgender tent, on a day to be proud it was all about Lisa.
Love And Best Wishes