The last few months has seen international solidarity around key issues of inequality through the #MeToo campaign, and the legalisation of same sex marriage in countries across the world. These movements have brought about debate, change, and wider understanding. Peterborough is gearing itself up for a new celebration of its local community. We asked local resident and organiser of Peterborough Pride Simon Green to tell us more…
From 29th June to 6th July 2018
What is Pride?
Pride provides a platform for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, Asexual (LGBTQIA+) communities, their friends and allies to celebrate sexual and gender diversity. It raises awareness of issues through various events, and honours the rich mix of local people. Many cities now organise a Pride – for some it’s simply an opportunity to openly celebrate and have a good time whilst for others it’s a beacon and first step to openly acknowledging who they are. In Peterborough, the LGBTQIA+ community want to organise a weeklong celebration which will encompass a number of events aimed at all residents. Peterborough Pride is an opportunity for everyone together to demonstrate support and solidarity. There will be an exciting programme running throughout the week from Friday 29th June to Friday 6th July. It will include dance, poetry and theatre performances, film screenings, cabaret, a massive party, and much more.
Does Peterborough need a Pride?
It perhaps feels a little odd that there isn’t an annual celebration in the city already (the last was in 2000) and whilst a significant motivation for organising a Peterborough Pride is to celebrate our city’s diversity, there is also a very urgent and more far-reaching agenda. Much has changed for the better in terms of equality and gay rights, and many peoples’ experiences are wholly positive and that’s very important. Unfortunately, however, all too often we hear accounts of bullying, harassment and abuse on the streets purely because of someone’s sexuality or gender identity. In 2016, social intelligence company Brand-Watch and anti-bullying charity Ditch the Label published research gathered over four years that analysed 19 million tweets from the UK and the US.
The researchers looked at speech across topics including racial intolerance, misogyny, masculinity and homophobia. Whilst rural Scotland showed the most widespread level of homophobic language online nationally, Peterborough was also identified as a city ‘hot spot’ of homophobic hate speech in England. Coming out for many people also remains a deeply painful experience and the particular challenges faced by our transgender brothers and sisters feels as significant as ever. We don’t have to accept this as a given and as the city we can stand together in solidarity and say ‘no more’.
What can people do to get involved?
● Everyone can simply enjoy and support the various events that will be happening. ● Our aim is for Peterborough Pride to be owned by everyone. We want schools, communities, churches, businesses, organisations, and neighbourhoods to celebrate in whatever way you can. This could include organising a headline event; shops creating a themed window display; bars offering a themed cocktail, or simply displaying the rainbow flag as a symbol of solidarity. Whatever you choose, nothing is either too big or too small, and actually it’s often the most unexpected gestures that have the best impact! ● For those who can, we also need financial support. Peterborough Pride is a new event. We are not an established campaigning organisation or business, but a small group of local people who have come together in an attempt to help make a situation better. Although this gives us great flexibility and freedom to develop something unique to Peterborough, clearly there are limitations if we can’t raise some finance. Big or small, if you can help in any way then please contact us. So, please spread the word, and if you want to support Peterborough Pride, contact me for a discussion. We want to hear from you whatever your thoughts and ideas.