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Ain't Too Proud...

It’s Pride month, but everybody knows that - right?

Last week, I went to see ‘Ain’t Too Proud to Beg’ at The Prince Edward theatre on Old Compton Street, with my aunts who had travelled up on the train from our hometown of Worthing. I met them in a little pub for the traditional pre-drinks, and wryly suggested that they had chosen this musical… on the queerest street in London… in pride month… as a subliminal anti-pride dig at their favourite transgender nephew. After the Sauvignon Blanc aided giggles had subsided, one of them informed me that not only had she never heard of Old Compton street, but she also had no idea it was ‘Pride Week’. ‘Week?’ I replied. ‘It’s Pride Month!’

The conversation continued about Pride and how Worthing actually has one of it’s own now (not that my aunts will be attending after last years ‘chairgate’ where an over-zealous security guard had refused to let their friend Debbie bring her own chair into the park. escandalo).

We then frolicked our way down Old Compton Street under a canopy of rainbow flags, before seeing the awe-inspiring biopic of The Temptations. My aunts ‘enthusiastic’ singing along was fortunately punctuated with a ridiculously talented cast, artfully portraying the true narratives of the Motown group and their families. A story of a band beginning in a time of segregated gigs, before eventually becoming the most successful RnB group of all time, portrayed by an almost entirely black line up in the West End. The thoroughly entertaining show also left the audience both educated and moved, by both the characters and the actors, representing the fight for equality.

Later that week, I took my son on a trip to Worthing - a complicated place for me, as hometowns often are for LGBTQ+ people. It’s undoubtedly a love/hate relationship.

We went for lunch in the local cafe and I saw a face from my childhood. We need to coin a word for the queer parlance that describes the seconds long process of a hand-jerk wave to someone you recognise, before a self-aware retraction after seeing their expression go from ‘pleasantly surprised to see your face’ to ‘confused by the hair that’s on it’. Staring down the barrel of a dead-naming, I busied myself in trying to get my son to eat his baked beans.

That afternoon, we met a couple mates for a pint in a sunny pub garden. At the bar, another ghost from the past floated in through the door before both of our gazes intentionally rebounded off each other. I quickly offered to take the drinks outside, swerving the imminent misgendering.

Walking back to my parents house, I was in typical post-triggering, self-blaming contemplation as my internal monologue listed; reasons I was stupid for making this trip, reasons to not come back anytime soon, and macro ‘catastrophisings’ about the prejudice state of society.

At that moment, I saw something out of place in my local landscape - A pride flag. Actually, about ten small pride flags strung along the window of a small business shop front. I smiled to myself. I turned the corner to find more of the same in other windows. Thoughts of commercial queer-washing naturally ensued, but still these small symbols represented a huge stride forward for a historically conservative town.

Many people, question the need for a Pride month, for a flag, for the many letters in acronyms. My trip would include those conversations, always opening with the same omen-like inquiry of if I ‘minded if they asked something?’ Before stating that there’s just ‘too many terms these days’.

Those terms and those flags though too much for some, are for people who don’t always feel too proud. Though I’ve always enjoyed attending and playing prides, I’m not entirely sure I’ve always been completely aware of their power. However, in that moment I was. Seeing those flags made me feel less alone.

I’m honoured to be headlining the first ever trans stage at Pride in London this year. After tireless campaigning for better trans inclusion at the event, the powerhouse that is Mzz Kimberly has founded, curated and will present an uber-diverse line-up, and I couldn’t be more grateful to be on the bill. Playing all new songs from my imminent debut album ‘Present in the Post’, me and the band will be taking to the stage in Soho Square at 7.15pm. Right after an afternoon of marching at the front of the parade with my favourite Pal-ly (Pal + Ally = Ally) and bandmate, Will.

Happy Pride everyone!

Love, Satch

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