What Pride Means to Me

In the year 2000, my best friend and I moved from Bexhill-on-Sea to the big bad city – Brighton. We moved because we wanted more from life than that small retirement town could offer us. Mostly though, we moved because she was into girls and there weren’t many ‘out’ women back then (that we knew of anyway). So many times my friend would lament the fact that she wasn’t ‘normal’ and I would always wonder what normal was anyway.

Since then we’ve enjoyed many amazing Pride weekends, nights at Wild Fruit and one time a drag queen swung her handbag at my head and left a scar. Those were the glory days and solidified something within me – that I was part of something amazing, finally a city where I belonged.

Many of my friends are LGBT+ so Pride is incredibly important to them and to me. I’m older and more square than I used to be so don’t often venture to the park anymore but I’m always at the parade, which I love more than anything. It never fails to bring a lump to my throat. I want to live in a world that accepts everybody from all walks of life for who they are. Being part of this day makes me believe it can happen, even if we still have a long way to go.

As a white middle-aged heterosexual woman, I try to be a good ally – but I know there is so much more I can do to show my support and I’m learning how to do that every day.

I wrote this for a Pride work competition and thought I’d share it here.

What does Pride mean to you?

The Miseducation of Cameron Post

The Miseducation of Cameron Post (2018)

When teenager Cameron Post (Chloë Grace Moretz) is caught by her boyfriend getting it on with her best friend Coley (Quinn Shephard) at prom, all hell breaks loose. For her anyway. Her concerned older sister packs her off to religious camp God’s Promise to attend a program designed to convert her back to the only acceptable sexuality in God’s eyes.

Why are you such a grass?

Here she meets a rag-tag bunch of like-minded kids at varying degrees of their therapy. Luckily for her she is able to bond with two fellow cynics, Jane Fonda (American Honey’s Sasha Lane) and Adam (Forrest Goodluck), who make her time there more bearable. Run by ex-homosexual Reverend Rick (John Gallagher Jr.) and his formidable sister, Dr. Lydia Marsh (Jennifer Ehle) – the camp expects each guest to adhere to a strict set of rules. The more they co-operate, however, the more privileges they’ll earn.

They’re each also required to fill in a personal ‘iceberg’ – e.g. a basic diagram of what’s going on beneath the surface, and what could possibly be part of the reason for their SSA (Same Sex Attraction). It’s a bad, no-good place to be basically and even worse when you consider that teens are still sent to conversion camps today.

Cameron struggles with the ‘punishment’ she’s received and is later forced to deal with the concept of guilt as Coley suggests she took advantage of their friendship.

“If they sing ‘The Wheels on the Bus’ ONE MORE TIME…”

On the sidelines we also meet Cameron’s hopeful roommate Erin (Emily Skeggs), musical Helen (Melanie Ehrlich) and Mark (Owen Campbell), who will break your heart in two. Genuinely, it’s very hard to watch any kid go through what these children do but especially when they’re warm and kind like Mark. His arc is hard to stomach and devastating for all involved. And it will make you mad as it should rightly do.

Thankfully, we get a feel-good ending and I’m down with that. One thing to note is how lovely this movie looks – it almost makes God’s Promise look like a pleasant holiday destination. Directed by the brilliantly talented Desiree Akhavan, it also illustrates Cameron’s flashbacks with proper sex scenes which are beautiful and real, something you don’t always see, particularly between two women. It’s not gratuitous, it’s more a visual ode to the beauty of women and the appreciation of them on the whole.

I love the characters, I love the dialogue and I really enjoy the scene in which Cameron gets up on the kitchen counter to do a rendition of 4 Non Blondes’ What’s Going On. As part of the new wave of gay movies we’ve been getting over the last couple of years, TMOCP holds its head up high and sticks two fingers up at ‘convention’ at the same time. Well worth a look.