Don’t be a drag, Just be a Queen!

Gay Pride is an event that celebrates lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, transgender and queen culture. It happens in the summer and festivities take place all over the world for it, Middlesbrough is no different.

The festival took place in the town centre and everyone showed up in their best rainbow attire to show their support.

Community Pride was funded by the Big Lottery Fund. Due to this funding, they were able to team up with MIMA and put on two, free workshops that anyone could attend.

For those who enjoyed music, there was a Parade drumming workshop that seen attendees working alongside professionals to learn a rhythm and perform it in the parade.

In addition, there was a face painting class were not only could you get your face painted, you could also learn designs so you too could be the face painter!

The festivities raged all day and were enjoyed by people of all ages and genders. Local drag queen Danny Beckwith, also known as Paige Turner, tells Tside his opinion on the future of Gay Pride.

Danny tells me how delighted he was with the help and support from Middlesbrough council.

“Judging by all the different festivals Middlesbrough Council holds, for every persons religions and beliefs I think Middlesbrough Council are very forward thinking.

It’s nice to see such a useful and productive group of Council members letting their community express themselves how they want in a large, festive event.

I personally live in Stockton but I’ve worked on the Middlesbrough Gay Scene for 7 years, and Middlesbrough Council have always been helping the LGBTQ Pride Events a success.”

"I've been a drag queen for 7 years now and "Paige" is a big part of my life, she's helped me conquer my anxiety issues, helped form friendships and relationships."

“I’ve been a drag queen for 7 years now and “Paige” is a big part of my life, she’s helped me conquer my anxiety issues, helped form friendships and relationships.”

Danny goes on to be thankful for being able to express himself freely as a gay man and a drag queen. In many countriesacross the world, being gay is still illegal and punishable by death. He tells me why he thinks Pride should not be such a high priority in the LGBTQ community.

” I do realize that the LGBT community has had a struggle fighting for equality, but I don’t feel a “Pride” is necessary, especially in the UK.

A lot of people are shocked about my opinion but I personally feel that peoples commitment in fighting for equality within the LGBT community should be focused on countries that are slaughtering gay/lesbian/transgender people.

I’m happy that Middlesbrough Council allow such an event, it’s endearing and it’s reassuring to know that we all live in such a accepting and open minded community. It’s great for us to be happy and proud about who we are and I do appreciate the life I have, but marching through Middlesbrough Town Centre isn’t my cup of tea.”

In my experience of Gay Pride events, there’s always someone that turns up to try and put a negative presence on the day, be it religious people or just homophobic people.  I asked Danny if he see’s much negative energy around Pride or when he performs.

“There is always negative energy regardless of what event is held.  Homophobia is always to be expecting on the day of Pride. I can remember a couple of years ago in Middlesbrough.

I was walking through the Centre on the March as Paige Turner, and my good friend Violet Brator (another drag queen based in Darlington) noticed a gentlemen stood at the side shouting homophobic abuse to us – as the music was so loud we couldn’t hear, but she marched over to him, licked his face, kissed his head and walked off again.

“We don’t judge people as we are always judged ourselves and I would put my year’s wage on it that if any heterosexual person had any negative opinions about the LGBT community or Gay Pride, if they actually joined in they would love it. ”