Here's a sentence I wasn't expecting to write today:
I should have been going to Bristol's Pride, but other plans got in the way.
Pride. It's never been my thing, as I've discussed on these pages before. My sexuality is incidental, not fundamental, to my identity. My politics have primarily been about other issues.
Pride. It's something that I find a difficult concept in relation to being gay, as I do of *just being* Scottish or British. But just as I'm proud of things many Scots and Brits have done and contributed to the world, I cannot ignore the achievements of those who have blazed a trail for equality.
So I find myself reappraising my view of Pride. I may not have been converted to a Rainbow-flag waving activist*, and I still don't fit into any of the stereotypical gay "tribes" but I do owe a debt of gratitude to those who marched in less open times, and blazed a trail for equality.
I still harbour reservations as to whether Pride as we know it now serves a purpose in advancing equalities; and whether it, or the main LGBT campaigning groups, have a wide enough view of the issues. Whatever; at the very least, it's an opportunity for a party and a festival for those who like that sort of thing.
But it's also an opportunity for something else - something I do take Pride in. It's a chance for Liberal Democrats to celebrate the role they have played in advancing Equal Marriage in the UK. With the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act advancing through Parliament, we have a good story to tell about how Lib Dems in government have pushed it onto the agenda and through the legislative process despite deep divisions on the benches of our coalition partners.
The bill is far from perfect but it is a step forward towards equality within the country; and is a firm example of how we are seeking to build a Fairer Society by participating in government.
And so, today, for the first time, I find myself wishing I had been at Pride. Still, there's always next year...
*I don't think I'll ever get the thing about the rainbow flag.