Just over two weeks ago, I attended my first Brighton Pride as an author. A proper published author. With two of my books, full of my words, coming out in the next eight months (Never Enough is out in November this year, and Escape in Time is released in April 2017).

I met lots of lovely readers and spent some time with three other great Bold Strokes Books authors, I Beacham, Michelle Grubb, and Brey Willows. I signed several copies of the anthology I’m in, Girls on Campus, and I’m proud to say, we even sold out.

Aside from the wonderful people we met (including the lovely couple with the sex toy shop adjacent to our stall), I had to come to terms with being a little long in the tooth to really partake of the alcohol and dancing frenzy that is the modern Pride. However, I was struck (as I always am at these events) how people of all different shapes, sizes, colours, tendencies, and non-binary genders showed up in their most daring outfits. They didn’t give a flying…toss what people thought. And some of those outfits would’ve really turned heads on the bus journey home, with ass cracks and nipples galore on show for all to enjoy. I say “You go, girl” – just as old local Midlands DJ, Pete Martine, used to scream at us on the dance floor.

On a more serious note, there’s a simmering refrain at the moment that Prides are no longer needed. That we have come so far in terms of equality and that such an open celebration is not necessary.

I wholeheartedly disagree.

When atrocities like the Orlando Pulse shooting don’t happen. When a trans person can walk into the bathroom of their choice without questioning looks or abuse. When a male couple can walk unimpeded along a street in Memphis, Tennessee. When tragedies like the Matthew Shepherd murder no longer occur.

Maybe then there’ll be no need for Pride Festivals. But in the meantime, keep attending, loud, proud, and colourful to Pride celebrations the world over.

Hope to see you at Manchester this weekend.