While the shot I'll be putting up on Wednesday is the most visually striking of the five I'll be putting up from my visit to Blackpool's Gay Pride 2006, this one's my favourite, not least because it's rare to see men being gentle and affectionate with one another, especially in public.
As a lot of you know, in my other life I teach psychology in a UK university. One of the areas of research I'm especially interested in is the interplay between culture and identity, or more specifically, how culture shapes and determines the identities that are available to us. And in this case I guess the identity in question is to do with what it means to be a man.
"Big boys don't cry", "one of the lads", and so on are all pointers towards a version of masculinity that we all recognise and probably subscribe to in one way or another, but this is clearly not the only way of doing masculinity; as evidenced by this photograph. And I guess that what interests me here is that the gay community have negotiated a different way of being male: one that permits affection and gentleness, that stands in sharp contrast to our taken-for-granted assumptions about being a bloke. And the key thing, for me at least, is that this doesn't have anything to do with sexuality; i.e. I can imagine a world where all the straight blokes are as gentle and affectionate to each other as many of the men I witnessed at the festival. Sadly though, 'the world's not like that', and the range of possible identities open to men within our (normatively prescriptive) mostly heterosexual society is much more limited.
2.57pm on 20/5/06|
EF 70-200 f/4L USM
176mm (282mm equiv.)
+0.0 (-2/3 FEC)