10 Safety Tips to Remember Whilst Celebrating
Brighton Pride 2022 is back and bigger than ever!
After two years of no celebrations because of the COVID-19 pandemic — this Saturday we are celebrating The Brighton & Hove Pride Festival, described by The Guardian as “the country’s most popular LGBT event.”
After two years of isolation, Pride this year is more important than ever as we haven’t had the chance to gather like this since 2019. Pride is a time to celebrate our community and the joys of being queer, and this year is bound to feel like a reunion; a sign of things “going back to normal” and a reminder of all the joy and love present in our community and our vibrant city.
However, Pride started as a protest, and there will be enough space for both queer joy and queer rage. Gathering together for Pride is an act of rebellion, a message that we are still here and stronger than ever. Something that is especially important today in light of recent hate crimes and the rise of anti-trans rhetoric.
According to the yearly ranking of LGBTQ+ friendly nations done by ILGA-Europe, Britain has plummeted to 14th place in 2022 – four places lower than last year. Hate speech and hate crime have surged, and anti-trans movements are on the rise; in the past few years of Conservative rule, vital gender recognition law reforms have been scrapped and trans people have been excluded from a conversion therapy ban. A report by the European Commission placed the UK’s legal recognition of trans people among the very worst in Europe.
Furthermore, LGBTQ+ people still feel less safe in public than the general population. At the start of this month, the UK’s largest LGBTQ charity shared a Report conducted by YouGov on Twitter, showing that 74% of cis LGB adults feel safe in the streets of the area they live, whilst only 57% of trans people said they felt safe in their area.
These prejudices will not disappear during Pride, and it is important to take steps to keep yourself and others safe. This is not to discourage people from attending, on the contrary, having a safety plan will make everyone feel more comfortable in order to have a fabulous time!
Here are 10 tips to make sure you stay safe during the pride festivities:
1. Go with friends.
There is safety in numbers, ask a trusted friend or family member to join you! Going in a group will make the experience much nicer overall, and definitely much safer. If you have no one to go with, why not join a group on social media? Brighton Queer Meet-Ups on Facebook, for example. Going with a group can also ease anxiety as friendly, familiar energy can help navigate an overwhelming space like the Pride Parade.
2. Look out for each other.
Have your friends' back and have someone watch yours. Pride is about celebrating our community in a safe environment. Be kind to one another and report any suspicious persons or activity if you can.
3. Stay hydrated, fed, and wear sunscreen.
Make sure to bring water and snacks! Staying hydrated is especially important if you are drinking alcohol; Be extra careful if you’re wearing a binder. Do not wear your binder for longer than 8 hours; Make sure to look out for signs of heat exhaustion and sunstroke. If you start to feel dizzy, sick or your heartbeat gets faster, get away from direct sunlight.
4. Charge your phone.
Make sure that your phone is fully charged before going out and/or bring a portable charger with you if you can. Keep it close at all times in case of an emergency.
5. Know where medics and marshals are at all times.
All Brighton and Hove Pride sites will have trained medical staff. There will also be a St John Ambulance at each of the fenced and ticketed sites. Make sure you know where these are before entering, and look out for staff members in case of a medical emergency.
6. Let people know where you’re going.
If you leave your group at anytime, make sur to tell them where you are going. You can also share your location with a trusted friend through the 'Find My Friends' app on iPhone, and write down phone numbers of friends or family on a piece of paper in case your cell phone dies.
7. Practice Drug Safety and Harm Reduction.
If you are going to drink alcohol or use recreational drugs, be extra careful. Do not get drunk or high on your own and make sure you know what you’re taking: do not accept drugs and drinks from people you do not know and keep your drinks close at all times.
8. Don’t forget protection.
Free condoms and lubricants will be given out but make sure you bring your own if you plan on having sex. Using protection drastically reduces the likelihood of getting an STI, so make sure you practice safe sex. You could also get tested prior to the celebrations for extra precaution: order a free STI testing kit here, and see here for HIV testing around Brighton & Hove.
9. Have an exit plan.
Establish a meeting point just in case you get separated, like the entrance of the venue or a building away from any demonstration you attend. Also key is to know how to get to your next location and how to get home if you are not local. Make sure you look up the bus or train times prior to the events!
10. Look out for our Back Off Back Up Stickers.
Across Rainbows has now signed up about 40 venues around Brighton & Hove that serve as designated safe spots. If you are being harassed or feeling unsafe, look out for one of our stickers. You can go in to any of these venues to ask for help! They can support you with calling a friend or the emergency services, calling a taxi, or just offer a moment of respite.
There is also the YMCA Safe Space in St Paul’s Church, West Street, BN1 2RQ. Which is a quiet space for anyone feeling distressed, intoxicated, injured, or who has lost friends.
However you choose to spend your Pride, make sure to prioritise your wellbeing. No queer person should have to feel unsafe at an event that is meant to create space for our communities. Keep yourself safe, trust your instincts, and most importantly, have fun!
You can find more information about safety at the event on the Brighton Pride website: see here.
Learn more about the Back Off. Back Up campaign