This weekend the world and her wife will be turning our favourite city by the sea into the LGBT+ capital of the world at Brighton Pride. We spoke to three very different people who live in Brighton about what their city’s Pride means to them and what they will be doing on the day. Say hello to George Montague, at 94 he calls himself the ‘oldest gay in the village’ who continues to campaign against the injustices he has suffered in his life including a government apology for being arrested for being gay; Fox Fisher, co-founder of Trans Pride Brighton and Lola Lasagne, organiser and host of the Legends Cabaret Tent in Preston Park.
How long have you lived in Brighton and where were you before?
George: I’ve lived in Brighton for 14 years, before that I was in London.
Fox: I’ve lived here for 17 years. I came here for university after not finding a community in London during my first year. London may be my birthplace, but my soul belongs in Brighton.
Lola: I moved to Brighton in November 1998. I seem to remember it was Children In Need night, and after moving things up two flights of narrow stairs this queen needed a vodka!
How many Brighton Pride’s have you attended?
Fox: I first came to Brighton Pride as part of a youth group. One year I was the co-chair of the LGBT society at Sussex Uni and I helped to set up Brighton Pride that year as a runner, which gave me respect for the effort which goes into planning such a large event. I’ve probably attended about ten Brighton Prides over the years.
George: I’ve attended nine Brighton Prides.
Lola: My first Brighton Pride was 1997, when I was asked to compere the cabaret tent. I compered at least a part of the day every year until 2002, when I took over producing and hosting of the tent.
What does the day mean to you and why do you think it is important?
George: It’s the best day of the year, and helps us gathering more and more acceptance.
Lola: Events in Chechnya, Orlando and Trump’s administration for starters. The fact that this country still treats the LGBT+ community as an afterthought. That the media allow ‘journalists’, and worse of all, the great British public to dismiss us by saying that we have everything we’ve fought for when it’s so obvious that there is still a long fight ahead for many people. I also think that Prides are important for our own cities and towns. They highlight our venues, our local organisations and to remind our communities that there are people there to offer support should they need it. They showcase the huge amount of performers, volunteers and businesses there are. We can also use Prides to raise monies and awareness for charities vital to our community.
Fox: Pride to me is a political protest. We must ensure that all trans people and non binary people are respected, with full legal and social recognition, especially those who belong to other underrepresented groups such as people of colour, with disabilities and lower economic status. This is why we set up Trans Pride and we celebrated five years this year, of putting the T first.
What will you be doing on the day?
George: Decorating my scooter with the same words asking for the government apology which we haven’t got yet for those of us who were criminalised just for being born the way we were, homosexual.
Fox: This year, I’ll be checking out the Trans Pride tent and looking out for a few films I made which will be showing on the main stage. One film is all about this year’s Trans Pride Brighton and another film is all about being non-binary encouraging people to contribute to the hashtag #ThisIsWhatNonBinaryLooksLike.
Lola: It’s a long day. I arrive at the park at 9.30am and with my team we set up the backstage area for the artistes. I sit down at midday to get ready for the 2pm start and then it’s non stop until we close at 8.30pm. After we’ve cleared up, I head through the park to a pub across the road for two glasses of very expensive wine, sometimes three, then it’s home to bed before another 12 hour day on Sunday at the street party and Legends fundraiser. Then on Monday I soak my feet and liver for the day. Just not in the same bowl.