Thank you all so much for joining us in person or in spirit at yesterday’s Pride in London celebration.
For me, this was an emotionally powerful day. Following a week of difficult news we were able to come together as Leathermen, the Old Club and BLUF together as brothers to stand up and say ‘We’re Proud to be our whole, authentic selves’ – and march to remember those no longer with us, to stand up for those who are facing oppression and violence, and to inspire the next generation of young queer lads to be themselves – all of themselves.
A million people came to watch the parade, and a million people watched us swan by celebrating all that we have been, all that we are, and all we will be together.
And we were fabulous! See below for a link to the photo gallery:
For some of our members, yesterday was their 50th year of being at Pride.
Our dear friend John was at the front of the parade with Peter Tatchell and the other veterans of Pride. John can be seen in all the press photos in his leathers, muir cap and club patch holding a sign saying ‘I was there in 1972’.
I’m regularly reminded of a quote by Mama Vi, a Leatherwoman from the US who helped set up the Carter/Johnson leather library:
“If I can take away your history, I can take away who you are. If there is no evidence, your leather grandkids, who will be out in about 15 years, can be told anything. You can sell them any bag of goods. I can tell them they’re sick. I can tell them they’re degenerate. I can tell them they’re wrong. Because if that’s not true, there would be proof.”
John leading the parade, being on the BBC, standing on stage in Trafalgar Square is that proof. His and our presence says: ‘We’ve been here since the start, and we’ll be here until the end’.
When we talk to the young guys who are just exploring their leather identity, we’ll be able to point to pictures like these and show them that their identity, their attraction, their deepest dreams are valid and that they stand on the shoulders of giants among a community that has a history and a heritage.
Thank you, John, and all the longstanding members of our club, for all you’ve done and continue to do for the community.
As we approach our own 50th year as a club, I’m proud to be one of the custodians of this amazing heritage, and I look forward to celebrating and marching with you all for another 50 years. You did your community proud!
In Leather Brotherhood,