Last year I started volunteering for an LGBT Youth Project that has inspired me to live more authentically and show all my colours. The Young people I work with inspire me to be proud of myself for whom I am and are truly epic to know. This year they also encouraged me to combine two of my favourite things, the LGBT community and Scouting.
A few months ago I contacted the organisers of Bourne Free and submitted an application for my Scout group to march in their first ever Pride Parade. Our application was approved and with not too much notice, we managed to gather a nice group of about 25 people for the parade. Ages in attendance within our Scout group ranged from 4-50+. Each Scout was presented with a special edition Pride necker on arrival and we marched behind a special Pride Scout flag.
As soon as we took our place in the parade I knew it was going to be a great day. With a smile firmly on my face for the whole parade, we danced, we sang, we waved, I got spotted by young people from the Youth Project and loved every minute.
We were lucky to be placed just a few meters behind a large lorry throwing a massive party, which put a bigger bounce in our steps. Everyone was in great spirits and it was clear to see lots of people commenting positively on the presence of Scouts in the parade.
The parade takes you through the main roads of Bournemouth shopping centre, before finishing in the Triangle. From there we parted ways with most of the members of our Scout Group and headed into the Bournemouth gardens to visit the stall being run by the Youth Project I volunteer at.
Music filled the gardens as Drag queens, choirs, singers and various acts performed on the Pavilion. Spirits were so high and it felt great to be among our community. As we grabbed some lunch by the pier, a small boy came running over excitedly to tell us he was a Beaver and pointed at M and his friend in their Beaver Scout uniform. His mum followed shortly and said we were his favourite part of the parade and he felt so proud to see Beavers marching past him. That moment confirmed exactly why I felt it was so important for us to march at Pride, visibility has always meant so much to be and I am glad M is now a part of that.