I was in Edinburgh recently at the film festival when the gay Pride celebrations were also taking place in the city... and I was shocked. Now, whilst I am a woman who is happily married to a man, I believe that love transcends gender (and the other social structures of society). It is, in my opinion, entirely possible for humans to fall in love with someone of either gender given the right conditions and the right circumstances, and should be treated as the norm. So why did my stroll past the Pride gathering make me feel so uncomfortable? Do Gay Pride events just enhance the stereotypes of same-sex couples rather than detract from them?
People in gay relationships are normal. They are, in the most part, unobtrusive and hard-working members of society. They are our police force, our doctors and nurses, our teachers and our solicitors. They are the people in my address book whose sexuality is not on evident display because it's just normal; and we in society should treat their relationships as normal. That is what gay rights campaigners are constantly saying they want after all. So why do they feel the need to put on the extravagant, glitter-fuelled, and seedy displays that are gay Pride celebrations?
Nearly everyone I saw at Edinburgh's Gay Pride (and the media coverage from other cities across the world such as Manchester last week), to me, do nothing but damage the image of gay couples. The emphasis was on sex rather than love; and had a flamboyant carnival atmosphere vastly different from the original pride parade in New York in 1969 which was firmly about politics and equality.
Gay pride parades in the current political climate, should be showing the fact that gay people fit perfectly into society, rather than showing them as fluorescent wig-wearing, skin-tight leather trouser-donning eccentric extroverts; who all love bondage gear and sailor suits. How can you really blame society for believing the typical gay stereotypes when the community itself, on their biggest platform, continue to confirm them and continue to portray themselves as being different from everyone else?
With the recent debates on the church legalising gay marriage in Scotland, people taking part in these street parties and parades have thrown away their chance to show the more ignorant members of our planet who they really are; and that's a real shame. The organising committees for next year need to hire a damn good PR firm.
Follow Laura Pearson-Smith on Twitter: www.twitter.com/LPearsonSmith