Reflections Of A Baby Gay At Birmingham Pride’s 25th Anniversary 23-25 September

Writer Laura Mills / Photographer Maddie Cottam-Allan

Now for me, this is my first Pride festival so I really went into it not exactly sure what to expect, but with open eyes awaiting the celebration to be loud and proud.

Walking around the city centre of Brum I see Pride flags all over, the streets are packed but the atmosphere is great as everyone heads down into the Gay Village. Once I’m down there it’s just packed with colour and life.

It’s a sea of people everywhere but every single person looks so happy – like pure happiness and joy across everyone’s faces. Even when they’re queuing for wristbands or drinks, it doesn’t seem to have dampened their spirits.

As I’m walking down the parade it’s weird, I don’t think I’ve ever had a feeling like this before, a feeling of complete belonging surrounded by people who don’t quite fit the boxes we’ve been socialised into. It’s not just belonging, I feel safe – completely and utterly safe.

Finally making the way through the parade, I turn the corner to Smithfield Live. Walking through the security I notice loads of posters talking about Pride with ‘BAB’ on giving it that signature Birmingham style.

Entering the main bit of the festival there’s music pumping, people all over dressed in bright colours, rainbows, big hair. People from every walk of life including couples and families.

I see Drag Queens everywhere I turn, and they all slay; they all look fabulous but also very unique too.

The busyness, hustle and bustle of day-to-day life appears to have drifted out of me the second I entered the arena. From here on out it’s parties and celebrations, smiles, and sunshine.

It’s so rare to walk through anywhere freely and without judgement, but that’s exactly how Pride felt for me.

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