Perthshire Pride

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It started with an email.

Perthshire has never had a Pride event. It’s a constituency of farmers and therefore relatively conservative; it never quite felt like the right time. But 2018 was Scotland’s year of change and we saw 12 new Pride events set up across the country, including ours. As the communication assistant for the council, I emailed Claire (who kick-started the whole thing) to ask if she wanted any social media coverage in the run-up to the event. I thought my involvement would begin and end with some tweets.

It turns out, she worked two floors below me and five minutes after I sent the email, we were sitting across the table from one another and I’d offered to take over Perthshire Pride’s Twitter account and join the board.

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The longer I spent with my Perthshire Pride family, the more meetings I attended, the more I felt like a fraud. Since I wrote about my struggle with my sexuality last year, I’m more certain of the box I belong in but that feeling can vary wildly from day-to-day. Some days I dance inside the box and on others, I tiptoe round the edges.

I wore my sailor playsuit on the day to embrace the queer-ness of it all. I tweeted and took photos of dogs and drank vodka and cranberry juice and applied glitter. I had to leave early to get the train to Manchester and so I sadly missed the glorious after-party. I bought a Stonewall tshirt and wore it in front of my friends (the ones I’m not “out” to) but bless them, they didn’t click. They assumed my wearing it was an act of solidarity rather than self-identification. I said nothing to correct them. I was too embarrassed.

I hoped everything would just click into place and since it hasn’t, it might be time to start actually working on my weird bisexual insecurity, start digging up the roots that poison me from inside. How awful to not be oneself in front of the people you love, not because you’re worried about acceptance (luckily, it’s a given) but because of sheer embarrassment. I’m almost 30 and self-assured and self-aware but still I wrestle with this. Perthshire Pride was the catalyst that made me realise I had to start looking myself in the eye when it comes to my sexuality. Which automatically makes it a success in my eyes.

We sold out all of our merchandise. We made a profit. Almost four times as many people attended than we’d dreamed of. See you next year.

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Lauren Aitchison