• Andrelina Ramdhun

My first Pride

While in the past I generally felt welcomed by the queer community in Cardiff, I sensed something was missing. I hadn’t realised what this was until I joined Glitter Cymru and participated in my first pride event, Glitter Pride 2022.

Even though the white queer community provided me with a fairly safe space to explore my bisexuality, I felt like I had to lose a part of myself in the process. I was a baby gay fresh out of the lockdown time of introspection in 2020 like many others and appreciated the acceptance that the queer community provided, minus the occasional bi-erasure. However, what became apparent to me after was that the two parts of my identify, my sexual orientation and Indo-Mauritian culture, started to feel more at odds with each other the more bisexual I felt. For some time, I thought this was due to my background.


Bisexuality is not a "thing” in Mauritius, where I lived until I was 8 years old before moving to the UK. You’re either gay or you’re not and you also couldn’t be gay. Growing up, there was no vocabulary available to express my bisexuality, which slowed down my coming out process. As a teenager I knew any talk of sexualities other than heterosexuality would horrify both my families in Mauritius and in London. As a result, I saw the culture I identified with the most as conflicting with the new “evolved” me. I didn’t realise another reality could be possible. That is until I started spending time with Glitter Cymru and Glitter Sisters International (GSI), a branch of Glitter and further safe space for womyx and enbies. They helped me to create a new normal that allowed for both parts of my identities to merge.



It was no place for Eurocentric beauty standards, all I could see were beautiful faces and features. I listened to the familiar music that I grew up with, which was included in the playlist I put together containing songs from the Glitter members’ different cultures… the music I would avoid sharing with my white friends at school. I absorbed the view and took in the clothes that I can fully appreciate now that I see difference as a strength, influenced by being part of the Glitter group.


From my position next to the stage, pretending to know how to DJ and manage the sound system, I was beaming with pride. There is no language of “lack of experience” in the Glitter group which is why I felt comfortable taking on this role. You’re just there to be admired and applauded for what you can offer. One example of this attitude is Glitter Pride providing a spotlight for local talents. I felt the same as Arianne Weekes (she/her), one of the acts presenting the meaning and history behind the traditional Ghanian clothing she created herself. She noted the rarity of events like this in Cardiff, expressing “where else could you find such a range of queer POC performances? I’ve never seen a poster for belly dancing in Cardiff”. The line-up also included Ayoud (he/him), The Welsh Ballroom Community, Dr Thania Acaron(she/her), Jia Wei Lee (he/she/they), Frances Bolley (she/her), Rokat (he/him) and Shabs (they/them).


One other great element of the day was presenting Aisha, created by Glitter group members as part of our art project.

Aisha is an amalgamation of all the different identities of Glitter members. She is a fierce bisexual, Trans woman of Nigerian and Indian heritage who is also an asylum seeker. It was difficult to not appreciate the physical space she took up in being life-sized. She inspired me to do the same and, more importantly, to take pride in my culture and sexuality and to hold them both in the same space. The Glitter group created her to also march at the upcoming pride parade, and highlight to the community the acceptance we all deserve in regards to race, ethnicity, gender and religion. She is a figure that refuses to be anything but herself, which is a lesson I hope to keep through my adulthood.


 

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