Pride Day events are generally colourful expressions of the various aspects of the LGBTQ+ community where they take place but also from further afield. In larger cities this often takes the form of marches and festival type events. Very early on we decided that Pride in Ely should reflect the character of the area and having looked at successful events from the annual calendar here such as Eel Day
, we decided on a family-friendly event which facilitated organisations as well as food and other vendors to gather together to connect with the public. We have placed an emphasis on education over trading stalls in our events, affording organisations both national and local to come and educate the public about their work. Previous attendees have included Stonewall
, Bi Pride
, The Kite Trust
, Amnesty International
, LGBT+ Policing Cambridgeshire
and many more besides. These have been complemented by fun activities for all ages, including face and rock painting, various live acts and speakers, lots of delicious food and drink and of course, our incomparable compère, Felicity Flappes!
The events’ impact is undeniable with thousands from all walks of life having attended – LGBTQ+ people and those from the wider community all coming together to celebrate with us and to learn from each other. What has really hit home for us as an organisation however is the direct and also anecdotal feedback we’ve had, much of it quite moving. We’ve heard from people who had never felt safe enough to explore their sexuality, who have been able to come and learn about LGBTQ+ lifestyles and issues, to speak with peers and support organisations, many for the first time. We’ve heard from people and parents of children who’ve finally felt able to come out to their family and friends as a direct result of the awareness we’ve raised. For others the effect of seeing their community supporting LGBTQ+ people has opened doors and brought them closer to a place of self-acceptance, many who have always felt “other”, outcast or that their lifestyle was wrong. This feedback above all else echoes the deep inequalities which initially fuelled the Pride movement over 50 years ago, highlighting the fact that the work is not yet complete and the important role organisations such as ours still must play in developing a fair and tolerant society for all LGBTQ+ people. We look forward to meeting you at a future Pride in Ely event!