Photos by Natasha Anstey.
I arrive to this event particularly hesitant. Partly because I’m unsure about what to expect and how equipped I am to appreciate and understand the nuances of the session and partly because I immediately spy a row of cakes when I enter the room and I don’t know how I am going to be able to resist them.
I resist. (At least until the intermission)
‘LGBT Pride in Edinburgh through Oral History and Art’ offered me an opportunity to better understand a community that I have long been an ally and supporter of, but never truly an active member of.
Jane Carnall, on the other hand, guest speaker and all-round excellent human, has plenty of experience as an active, longstanding and integral member of countless, crucial organisations that combat inequality, aiming to take pride in their individual sexuality.
Her forty-five minute history of her experience in these groups is moving and evocative, beginning in huddled basements with her hood up and her heart open and building right up to the recent announcement of the same-sex marriage bill passing in Scotland earlier this year.
During the speech, which preceded a session of banner-making and colourful creativity of ‘what Pride means to you’ (think Art Attack with an virtuous undertone) I found myself becoming increasingly affected on an emotional level by Jane’s struggles and more profoundly, by her significant triumphs.
In an anecdote describing one of the various Pride marches she had attended, Jane recounted describing Pride as ‘a party where every lesbian, bisexual, gay and transgender person is invited’ to a hustling, bustling, note-taking journalist.
She slightly regretted him never using that phrase but as a hustling, bustling, note-taking journalist myself, I’d argue it was a fitting expression for this event too.
With cake, colouring pencils and allies of the LGBT community also on the guest list!