I am twirling in a rainbow cape, while singing along to Proud Mary as I walk alongside the InteGreat Theatre float at Birmingham Pride 2019. The mood in Birmingham is ecstatic. I float along on a sea of dopamine, surrounded by people covered in rainbows.
I am aware that as a cisgendered, heterosexual person I get to dip into LGTBQI+ culture today, on the happiest of days, without any of the struggles that LGBTQI+ people experience on a day to day basis.
This year's Birmingham Pride celebrates No Outsiders, a movement that facilitates teaching the Equalities Act in schools. Andrew Moffat, the author of the No Outsiders book, opens Pride to thunderous applause from the crowd. The Pride procession starts, led by Andrew and representatives from the LGBTQI+ Muslim community.
Halfway around the route, we see a Christian group with placards. My heart sinks for the people who have come here with the expectation of being in a fully inclusive environment. I boo in the face of a man who's holding a homophobic sign quoting a passage from the bible.
As we round a corner there's another Christian group, including a vicar, and they're handing out stickers and love hearts. "God loves the gays" one of them tells me. "He made us, after all".
For the last part of the procession, I jump up onto the Integrate Theatre float and we all shout along to the last song of the day.