Brighton is a place that's open to everyone. I spent amazing three weeks there in the summer of 2015, and I’m going back there again next year to see my friends and enjoy the freedom that Brighton has to offer at every step. They call it “the happiest place to live in the UK”. Again and again, on various occasions I could see why Brighton has gained such a nickname: When I went to Sainsbury’s to buy some lunch (it was just a few steps from our hostel in the part of the city called Kemptown), I got into a pleasant conversation with the cashier who, among other things, wanted me to explain what the Amazing 3D World project is about. During the following half an hour I met two people, we exchanged our numbers and agreed that the next day we would do something with our friends. It fascinates me how all this comes naturally in Brighton, without conflict, without barriers.
Brighton is a seaside resort in the south of England with the highest concentration of artists and the biggest LGBT community on the British Isles. That’s why it's one of the venues of the famous annual event named Pride which takes place in many cities around the world. In the summer of 2014, I happened to be in San Francisco at the time of SF Pride, and my good friends organized Prague Pride 2015. This event showcases individuality, freedom and pure fun. It’s also a proof that transsexuals, bisexuals, gays and lesbians aren’t afraid to be themselves, on the contrary - they are happy to show their nature to everyone.
The jubilee 25th anniversary of the Brighton Pride Parade which began at 11 am on August 1 was attended by as much as 160,000 people, us among them. We overslept a little because we were tired from the previous night (what, it was the Friday night). Fortunately enough, the start of the parade was delayed as expected, so we managed to be there in time - and with a good take-away breakfast in our hands. After all, we were just a few steps away. Before it all began, we explored the entire parade route in the opposite direction and we took in the chill-out atmosphere full of expectations.
The route started on the seafront, continued along the beach towards two of the three most famous sights in the city - the snow-white Brighton Wheel and the Brighton Pier, the center of fun. However, the route then turned from the sea in the direction of the third tourist attraction: the Royal Pavilion, an extravagant royal palace in Indian style which was built by Henry IV.
For most of the parade, we stay in the section along North Street. There, together with other visitors, we are laughing at the kick-ass jokes of a funny black security guy who’s in charge of our crossroads. Then, we start seeing dozens and dozens of costumes, trying to fully perceive the various imaginative fashion creations, combinations of vibrant colors, sequins and glitters and fluttering rainbow flags. As a matter of fact, rainbow is all around now: on hair, clothes, cars (they have giant rainbow mustaches) and even faces. As soon as one amazing part of the parade passes, there comes another one. Like everyone around me, I’m laughing, screaming, singing and dancing to the music that varies depending on who or what is just passing by. At one point, a car full of people dressed in red appears; it stops for a while, and we sing two choruses of Dancing Queen together. Then there’s a group of perky cheerleaders, trans divas with half a meter tall hairdos, a flock of colorful chickens, and two gentlemen holding hands, one with a Pride costume made of tens of Kens while his boyfriend is dressed in rainbow skirt made of something that looks like Christmas chains, proudly carrying a yellow teddy bear.
This year's Pride Parade ends in Preston Park with the Pride Festival including a performance of the Brighton native Fatboy Slim. The entire event which continues on August 2 with wild celebrations throughout the city raised 100,000 pounds - a significant sum that was donated to local organizations supporting the LGBT community in various ways.
In the evening, we go to visit our friend Alejandro who works at Nandos, a branch of a popular restaurant chain that’s offering excellent grilled chicken. His co-worker who was in the parade stops by and shows us how her feet hurt after the several-kilometer walk in flip-flops. We all laugh and talk for a bit and then we move into one of the bars to properly enjoy the rest of this unique event.