Everyone has the right to express and explore their queerness without barriers, including fists and bottles on the street.to walk through the city in solidarity together.
I'll be there. As a female teenager, I had crushes on Paul Weller and Billy Bragg, plus the odd cute boy that I went to school with. When I went to university, I became involved in all kinds of political activities, all of which are still part of my life now. And I met queer people. Beautiful strong stroppy lesbians and bisexual women who so challenged my ideas of attraction and relationships that it changed my life.
I came out when I was 18, as bisexual. At this point, what that meant for me was that I acknowledged the possibility of attraction to women, that I'd come to think that attraction, for me, was more about qualities people have than gender. I knew I liked kindness, and compassion, and the intellectual capacity to take apart an idea. I knew I loved sparkling eyes and wicked grins and people who were comfortable and playful with their bodies. And I didn't think many of these things were gendered only and always ever male, or only and always ever female.
When I came out, several things happened. Despite not having a sexual relationship with a woman until I was twenty, the following year I was demoted from the captaincy of a representative cricket team. We'd won a national tournament, but the word was that an out queer shouldn't be captain of an Under 20 team. The (straight) captain that replaced me led us to coming last of eight teams.
There were all manner of repercussions in my family, still the place in which not being accepted was the most painful. These continue, as for many queer people, to be ongoing. My parents, after some very difficult years, are now not exactly going to be on the march with me but are certainly supportive in a way which was unimaginable when they were threatening to stop me seeing my younger brother in my early twenties.
Being out has affected by employment. I've been bullied, in a feminist organisation, for being bisexual rather than lesbian, and told repeatedly that bisexuality doesn't exist (apparently it's a 22 year phase I'm still rather enjoyably stuck in), and that I just need to be brave and come out "properly." I've been turned down for a job I was imminently qualified for when an existing born-again Christian member of staff said she would leave if I was hired. Everyone interviewing for the position had been informed of this before my interview.
And lets not forget the streets. I've been spat at, yelled at, and threatened with violence on the street, for kissing women. Rather memorably, one night in Newtown as I walked home holding hands with my then girlfriend, we were targetted by a bunch of teenagers, who after shouting abuse at us, starting throwing things. After catching one, we realised the missiles were potatoes, from a huge sack they were carrying. This stopped only when I started throwing them back - thanks to cricket, I had a much more accurate and longer throwing range than any of the strapping boys in their group.
I mention these experiences - over a truckload of others - to give some flavour about why I will be marching. And I'd love to see others there - whether or not you're queer - who agree that people should be able to love who they love, fancy who they fancy, dress and act and be in all the wonderful varied ways that human beings express gender - without any threat or reality of violence.
See you there.