The good thing about Sparkle (and maybe THE most important thing!) is that it teaches each of us self-respect in our own individual way. By that, I mean every one who attends gets the message that they can be themselves, not just in fantasy-land, but in the reality of real streets, real towns, real people, and real events. It’s a confrontation, in a safely organised manner, with the world as it is. Each can feel value for themselves, and hence be generous to others. That’s why people get the ‘post-Sparkle blues’. It’s hard to go back to acting a part when you’ve had a chance to speak your own lines.

Initial appearances are deceptive. Yeah, I know, people attend Sparkle and wear all the most extreme ‘gear’. But I think that’s not why most people are there. For many this is the first taste of authentic freedom, and like the old song goes: “How are you gonna keep ’em down on the farm once they’ve seen gay Paree?” Where DO you go from here? Back into the ol’ closet (so to speak)? It’s never that easy. This is a life-transforming experience.

The road to being oneself is not an easy one. Authenticity hath its price, and often it is seriously expensive. But life is something one only lives once, and to loose the chance to be a ‘person’ (rather than a ‘cipher’) is something that is more than a little tempting.