August in Doncaster is Pride month, and while the actual Pride event sadly couldn’t take place this month, we wanted to celebrate anyway! We’ve written about Doncaster Pride in the past (read our previous blog posts here), and this year we reached out to local Drag Artist Bipolar Abdul to ask what Pride means to her.
“I GOT MY CIVIL RIGHTS” she screamed, as her shot glass hurtled through the air, smashing straight into a mirror. It became known as “The Shot Glass that was Heard Across the World” and she became known as the pioneer for modern gay rights. If you’ve never heard of Marsha P Johnson, I’ll give you a quick run down.
Marsha was born on August 24th 1945 and moved to New York at the age of 17. She was the first drag queen to work at the Stonewall Inn when they started to let women and trans people inside. As a Black trans woman and drag queen, she was unapologetic from the start. She immersed herself in being an advocate and fighting for rights. The first brick thrown at the police during the Stonewall Riots came from her clenched hand on the evening of June 28th 1968 and she didn’t stop fighting until she saw change.
Soon after this the idea of Pride started to form, Across America and eventually most of the world queer people gather together in droves to fight for rights and celebrate who they are together. The famous rainbow flag became the symbol of hope and community to LGBTQIA+ folx worldwide. (Fun fact – there used to be a pink stripe in the flag, however when Gilbert Baker wanted to make on the length of the Castro in San Francisco, he found the pink material was too expensive so he axed it)
How does this relate to us in Donny? Well, there’s a big queer community in Doncaster, and this includes a big trans youth community! Thanks to the Doncaster Pride committee we have a wonderful annual event where we can come together and be joyful about who we are, who we want to be, and the people that fought for us in the past. It’s a chance to realise our progress as a society, but recognise how much further we need to go. It’s also a great excuse to get the glitter out.
I know as well as most, that it can be difficult being queer sometimes. There are times where you wish you fit the heteronormative mould, and might even try to force yourself into it. Take it from me, you owe it to yourself to not just accept, but celebrate who you are. Grab hold of it with both hands and sink into it. You are bloody wonderful. The second you can let yourself do this, you will start to find other people that have done the same. The best advice I can give anyone, regardless of whether they are LGBTQIA+ or not, is just live it the way you want to. People don’t know shit, so why is everyone so bothered about what strangers think?
Pride has always had political connotations, and still does. Pride is the biggest event in the year for me, one I look forward to so intensely. The one day of the year where Doncaster is a technicolour dreamland, so much laughter, love, and acceptance. It’s camp, silly and ultimately fabulous but Pride should be thought of as taking a stand, even today in 2020. There are still 70 countries where it is illegal to be queer, with 12 of those countries still carrying the death penalty for these “crimes”. When people ask me why we still need Pride, that is always my answer. There is no liberation for any of us, until there is liberation for all.
Follow Bipolar Abdul here