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Brighton Pride Weekend 2004

It was one of those odd moments that had brought me to be flying down the M4 with Nicci. Having just spilled the beans about myself to some close family members, I felt the need to get out of their hair and give them some space. It wasn't that they hadn't been really nice about it; it was that I knew they needed time to confer amongst themselves, so without further ado it was time for another adventure. And what the heck? It was Pride weekend! Time to be out and proud!

Having just got back to the UK for two weeks, I wasn't sure where the party would be. But we had wheels! So we started running through the list of places to celebrate the most colourful weekend of the year. Bristol? It was close to where we were, but somehow didn't seem out enough. Oxford? Jolly perhaps, but hardly gay... Portsmouth? Mecca of the UK trans-scene, but too big a pilgrimage. All week, an admirer of mine, Richard, had been asking me to go to GAY in London so it was settled, to the bright lights of London we headed, two sisters on a mission to party!

Reaching London by nightfall, Richard was already wasted, so we checked out Putney but couldn't find anywhere to park. Next came Wimbledon where we dined royally at a Chinese before learning something new about being out dressed:

Remember that if you're young, you may not look of age once all the make up is on. Stock up on booze before dressing as your ID probably shows a guy who looks quite different..!

Feeling somewhat hard done by, this was it. We'd been out all day and we'd not even managed to get one drink despite having traversed the entire South of England. What else can you do when last orders are called and you haven't even found the party yet? Go to Brighton my dears!

It was close to midnight when we joined the thronging crowds heading out to the beach front having had to park a good forty minutes walk from there. Brighton, it had to be said, was far, far busier than London was. Through it's eclectic mixture of Victorian architecture on a warm evening, traveled the grease of kebabs, the yells of drunken revelers and an eyeful of bright lights. At first it seemed like the usual mayhem of a long summer night of revelery on the English Riviera. But a closer look showed groups of handsome girls and beautiful guys holding hands amongst the masses of partygoers invading from London and surrounds. The floors were awash with flyers for pride parties. It was Nicci's first time in Brighton so I showed her the Pink Palace (also known as Brighton Pavilion) where I one day aspire to live...

Brighton Pavillion
Brighton Pavilion.. the most beautiful pink palace in the world!

Nicci was a little worried about the sheer number of people around and there were police about. We passed one guy who was pinned under a couple of boys in blue and was shouting to them that he just wanted a cigarette. I really must learn from straight guys what it is they do as no matter what shade of Dior I've worn whilst parading past the police they've never tried to climb on top and handcuff me, let alone leave me gasping for a smoke! Maybe they only like boys, I don't know, but it breaks a girl's heart all the same...

Once we'd fought our way down to the promenade we needed to find some friendly locals to show us to the party. No sooner did I voice this to Nicci when over came a scruffy young man.

"Want any beers? £3.50 each," he started.

"Mmmmm, rather have some weed, mister", I replied with a cheeky smile. On the beaches of Vancouver, we've plenty of unlicensed beer sellers too and they all got good stuff tucked away if you know how to ask for it. And so we started chatting! In just a few short minutes, I'd gotten sorted for weed and drink and more importantly, I knew where the beach party was.

"About ten minutes over there", he said, hastily tucking the cash away and marching off into the darkness of the night to continue vending to the beach crowd.

"Thanks matey" I shouted back, full of joy that the night was now in full motion. That was until I realised... we've got no rolling papers! We started to scour the pier like a pair of dope hounds...

One of the best pieces of advice I can give anyone who goes out dressed is always to remember that whilst you may be scared of people, more likely is that people will be even more scared of you! So take the effort to hold your head up, smile a lot and don't be afraid of eye contact. Who would you rather talk to? The people who look shifty and suspicious or the people who look like they're having the time of their lives? Act like the heart and soul of the party and people will assume you are and that's attractive.

As we toured the pier we played games, studied the henna tattoos and got our signatures analysed. Of course this meant walking up to people dressed in full view and good light, but with a smile and an open attitude, people were extremely warm and welcoming to us. My "Secrets of your Signature" reading was quite revealing... Not only did it say that due to an innate blend of emotional intelligence and powerful reasoning I was able to cope with difficult problems more easily than most, it also said that I think I'm right most of the time... and that most of the time I am! OK, so it did go on about how I have to be careful who I choose as friends and how I can be too headstrong and impulsive, but hey, you can find out about my dark side if you ever meet me! I won't spill the beans here, but I have to say for only £2.50 it was damn accurate and a good insight into the mind of this transexual girl.

As for Nicci's, well it said exactly what I've always said about her. Vain, fickle and as shallow as an inflatable pool left overnight in the Sahara! Just kidding! You'll have to ask her about hers.

Sadly the pier didn't have any rizlas for sale, so a forty minute march back to the car was in order. As we sat in the car, toking and joking, we watched two men in the nearby park juggling fire sticks. Walking past them was one of those classic moments of trans-mayhem...

"Hey dudes!" called the first. "Come over here!"

By calling us dudes, I immediately assumed he'd clocked us and so forgot all about trying to pass. We began to chat and I commented on how good their show was. The response? "Come and sit down here on my seat". So I did. I jumped down the slight ledge and waited for Nicci feeling rather flattered at his amorous advances. After Nicci joined me suddenly I saw his face change, why I don't know, but I've told Nicci about scratching her balls in front of guys so many times...

"I.... didn't realise you were... all in make up and that..." he stammered.

Normally, when you get clocked, people panic. You panic about what they might do and the other party panics because you've had one over them till then. The secret to avoiding disaster is again, openness and friendliness. Detecting his sudden change of feeling, I kept the conversation alive by brushing his comment of with a quick yes and then telling what a great time we'd been having, how everyone we'd met had been so nice to us and how it was so cool watching him and his friend juggle fire. He laughed with us and put on a great show before we made our excuses. Parting, there was definitely no hard feelings, in fact if anything we went away feeling that he'd been impressed by how real we were and that if he ever did have anything against trannies, meeting us had given him a new reference.

Another incident happened on our walk to the party. We'd stopped to buy tea and chocolate when I saw a man leaning against a railing making moaning noises and limping. With shaven head and typical lager lout clothing, he'd normally be the type I'd avoid but I hate to see grown men cry. Over I trotted and asked him if he was OK. I made it obvious I wasn't advancing on him and he went on to tell me how he'd fallen down the stairs - it's amazing what mummies boys most straight guys are, and they love to hear a little there, there, you'll be fine from a friendly woman. Instantly he was cured! I had to make it apparent I was transexual before he started making a move on me! I think that threw him a little but my sincere hope is that he's gone away thinking better of people like me as there were hundreds of people around but everyone else had ignored his obvious pain. I could see he just wanted someone to acknowledge his pain in order for him to feel better and I gave him that without asking anything. He left with a big smile that a stranger, or even someone far stranger, had cared. And it's by selflessly helping others that one day transexuals will be looked after. The revolution is in winning people's hearts, one by one, and showing them the truth about what we are.

Fat Boy Slim rocks Brighton
The most famous Brighton Beach Party to date was in 2002 when Fat Boy Slim personally organised an event and over a quarter of a million people turned up!

The rest of the night we sat totally blazing at the beach party and watched the ravers falling about on ecstasy, it was like watching the steady decline of Western civilsation to a techno drumbeat. We pondered those difficult questions in life, like if it's daytime in the UK and you can see the Moon what on Earth has happened to nighttime in Australia? We also amused ourselves by performing social etiquette tests, like what determines who moves out the way when people are trying to pass one another on a street? As far as I can determine, men will always get out of the way of women (or me and Nicci walking down the street like two stuck up bitches!) but amongst women the hierarchy works on beauty - the prettiest marches forwards whilst the rest have to move out their way.

All the time we were out people were coming up to us and asking us this, that and the other. Lots of people asked us if we knew where the party was, to the point I was wondering if I was walking like I was drunk senseless! In hindsight, I think we just looked more approachable than the many other party goers people could have asked. Both Nicci and I went away on a complete high, not from the weed, but because of the amazing night out we had. We connected with so many people, we did so many normal things like having fun on the pier and we went where we pleased. The fact that the beach party was free was an added bonus. I don't know if there were many other TGirls out that night as I only saw a couple of more mature trannies the entire night. Passing one of the fetish clubs as we went home, I got the impression that most people who were being "out of the ordinary" had seen clubs as the best place to do that, perhaps because the streets were filled with the type of straight people who'd normally run a mile from anything gay or trans.

All in all, the night did require some extreme bravery and Nicci is one of the few people I know mad enough to go with me head on into the masses. But the reward was a buzz that lasted days, the feeling that you can go out and do all the things that normal young people do with all the other young people and not feel socially ostracized. The worst reaction we got was to have people smile or laugh and as I always tell my dear little sister Nicci, don't worry about laughter. It means they're surprised but that you've brightened their day and often if you smile back or as I do, laugh to yourself at their appalling taste in clothing, you'll find it very easy to make friends with the everyday people you thought would shut you out.

Brighton is well policed during Pride weekend and both the police and community there are very sensitive and open towards minority groups like transexuals. Behave yourself and you shouldn't have much trouble, well, unless you go out looking like a cheap whore which is the easiest way to get yourself in trouble anywhere. Although we didn't stop in any, Brighton has many trans-friendly pubs and clubs and is a far easier going place to have a ball in than London. Pride weekend, for those of you who are new to all this, is normally the first weekend of August and in the daytime there are parades and parties in the parks and streets. It's a perfect time and place to paint on a happy face and to stand tall, showing the world how happy you are to be as you are.

As we got into our car to finally depart it was heading for 5am and guess what? The guy who'd been juggling fire and had a shock to find we weren't genetic girls came walking up. He immediately recognised us and came over to play us a song on his guitar! We'd made a friend there. Proof enough that by being real people's views can be changed?

Brighton Beach Party Review:

  • Type: Free, illegal but allowed rave
  • Location: Only on long summer weeekends at Brighton beach and even then, only if you know where to go
  • Entry: Totally free but bring your own gear
  • Facilities: Banging techno music played from the back of a van, not a lot else apart from the pebbly beach nearby...
  • Plus Points: Full of gorgeous young girls and guys partying till dawn, a more accepting attitude due to the location and a really good place to get utterly wrecked before the local council finally get sick of this all going on untaxed...
  • Minus Points: You'll need to be quick witted and to have humour about yourself to enjoy this. High heels are a major no-no as you won't get far on the beach in those and being totally glam will make you feel so out of place - dress like your average 20 or 30 something club chick and you'll be fine. Be aware that the majority of the crowd are heterosexual.
  • Overall Rating: 10 out of 10

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