Cry out for Marsha P., Queerdom, and Stonewall!

Today would have been Leeds Pride. For all my conflicted feelings around the commercialisation of Pride, it’s still an event where I feel connected to a broad LGBT+ community. This poem mythologises a Pride march as a great gathering of queer groups to fight for a better world.

Before we march
We meet in street and square
Mustering, fortifying
For the fight to come

Some peacock for all to see
Others hold their pride within
Close and personal
Both are beautiful

Warpaint marks flesh
Voices shrill with excitement
That anticipatory thrum
As we await the fray

And everywhere
The rallying cries
The fluttering of flags
As we gather our strength

The paw flags
Throngs of pups and ponies
Barks of excitement
Kept in check by handlers

Beneath their flags
Of black, blue and red
Knights armoured
In leather and latex

Pale pastel tones
Soft and gentle
Contrast the ferocity
Of the trans tribes

Aces and aros
Shades of black, white, and grey
Part of our alliance
Not merely allies

The lesbians gather
Under lipstick and labrys
Femmes, sapphics, butches, and dykes
Labels divisive, but strength united

Bis and pans
Flags of pink and blue
Paired with purple or yellow
Refusing to be overlooked

And everywhere, the rainbow
Some 6 colours, some 8
Some quartered
In inclusive statements

All these and many more
Coming together in a chaotic alliance
To boldly claim streets
Too often filled with fear

So once more unto the breach dear friends
To fight for freedom
Follow your spirit, and upon this charge
Cry out for Marsha P., queerdom, and Stonewall!

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