Manchester, my best friend patiently tried to paint the nails on my fidgeting hands.I had never painted my nails before, but that wasn’t why I was nervous: it was my first Pride, despite the fact I’d come out as gay seven years earlier.Vibrating with anticipation, I was unsure what to expect or how I would react.

I felt uncomfortable but yearned to belong to the celebrations that were rattling the hotel’s windows.My friend squeezed my hand as we wandered towards the Pride parade and wormed our way to a good spot at the barriers.

Beside us, a beautifully diverse group of giggling, glittering people wasted no time in introducing themselves and absorbing us into their friendship group.