This weekend is Gay Pride at Brighton and some 20,000 visitors will descend on Brighton for it. Already the rainbow bunting is out in full for 48 hours of revelry and gay proclamation. It starts with a procession from Hove Lawns to Preston Park where there is a disco and will finish up in Kemptown the principally gay area between the pier and the marina. There is a wooded part of the front at Kemptown called Dukes Mound with the nudist beach in front of it and there the bushes will be moving like that scene from Macbeth by the Sunday.
Yesterday I had lunch with a gay teacher. I knew him sufficiently well to float my view that tolerance to gays has moved on sufficiently that homosexuality does not need to be promoted. Indeed apart from the benefits commercially to Brighton I could see no obvious reason to have this weekend. To my slight surprise my friend agreed adding that it now exists because it exists. Some straight couples I know join the parade enthusiastically as they say it embraces Brighton’s culture where the gay world has been such a feature for many years. Personally I am off to Chichester with Tim Holford-Smith to see Mack and Mabel. Getting round Brighton is nigh on impossible but that is not really the point. Time was when a gay could not enjoy his or her life as they could not conduct an open relationship with their own sex and many not least some famous actors in Brighton led a double life. We have moved on since then. Someone like Matthew Parrris has enjoyed double career success as politician and journalist, is openly gay and I like to think he is judged by his talent not by his sexual preference. It’s true that there are a few avenues – soccer, religion, the armed forces – where there is till a block to gays coming out but the world is a different one, at least in the United Kingdom, now since the sixties when relationships between consenting adults were first accepted by statute. Amongst younger people I know it does not really matter. If you’ve got it, you don’t necessarily have to flaunt it.