Exploring LGBT+ People’s Experiences of Pride Events in the UK

Contrasting Safeties, Celebrations, and Exclusions

  • Eleanor Formby
Keywords: celebration, community, exclusion, LGBTQ , Pride, safety


This article draws on research on understandings and experiences of LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transeveryday lives, focussing on two broad areas: how Pride events link to understandings of LGBT community, and how Pride events can be sites of alienation and exclusion. In the former, I examine two sub-themes concerned with safety and celebration. In the latter, I explore three sub-themes relating to commercialism, identity-based prejudice, and the notion of “excess”. Across these, I draw attention to the boundaries of Pride and how these are experiential as well as spatial and temporal. Study participants viewed Pride events as particularly significant, albeit temporary, forms of “LGBT space”, thought to facilitate feelings of community belonging, safety, and freedom, which were not always experienced elsewhere. However, Pride events were also subject to varied criticisms, related to a lack of “politics”, the presence of alcohol and other commercial interests, and the potential for some LGBT+ people to be excluded within and from Pride events. Often this exclusion was related to their identities, appearance, or access to financial and other resources. Concerns were also evident regarding so-called “flamboyant” displays of pride that unsettled some people who did not want to be (seen to be) “different” or “extreme”. Nevertheless, for others, there was a clear sense of celebration at Pride events, which was appealing. In discussing these research findings, and the place of Pride events within understandings and experiences of LGBT communities in the UK, I identify some of the tensions and temporalities at play.



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How to Cite
Formby, E. (2023). Exploring LGBT+ People’s Experiences of Pride Events in the UK: Contrasting Safeties, Celebrations, and Exclusions. Lambda Nordica, 28(2-3), 111-141. https://doi.org/10.34041/ln.v28.898