Preview: Nottingham Pride 2009

20 Jul

Nottingham Pride took place in the Arboretum on Saturday 25 July 2009. In 2010 the festival will take place at the Forest Recreation Ground on Saturday 31 July

Written for LeftLion.co.uk

For more than a decade Nottingham has held an event every year celebrating LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) culture and dedicated to the city’s diverse and vibrant LGBT community. It started as Nottingham Pink Lace and in 2000 became Nottingham Pride, providing one day a year when people of all backgrounds from all over Nottinghamshire and beyond can come together and share a day of entertainment, fun and community. But the significance of this yearly event goes far deeper than simply having a great day out; it is a hugely important celebration of one of the most successful and worthy civil rights movements of our time.

The modern Pride movement began in 1969 after the Stonewall riots, in which the gay community of New York first fought back against the homophobic government-sponsored oppression that was being suffered around the globe. Whilst it was a violent event, it gave gay people a cause to unite in and from this was borne countless activist organisations, lobbyist groups and the Gay Pride movement. Since that terrible day, charities such as Stonewall (named after the NYC club where the riot began) have worked tirelessly to achieve equal rights for LGBT people, and although the fight is far from over there has been a massive shift in public perceptions and political attitudes.

This year is the 40th anniversary of the events at Stonewall, and as such is an important landmark in the Pride movement. For the first time there will be a Speakers’ Corner at Nottingham Pride, where people can stand up and have their say on any issues surrounding LGBT culture, with the speakers including Nottingham’s very own gay sheriff. The event is, as always, family friendly, but with the addition of three local bars lending their support including a dance and live entertainment tent. On the main stage music will be provided by Kenelis and Kelly Llorenna among others, and the event itself will be hosted by Pariss, who is one of the East Midlands’ premier drag queens. There will also be Nottingham’s first ‘Pride Walk’, starting from 11am running from the Forest Ground to the Arboretum, which will feature a marching brass band, dance troupe, and local organisations. Bring whistles!

This is an event that stands for so much, and by simply turning up and having a brilliant time you’ll be showing your support and doing your bit for the advancement of the LGBT community, not only in Nottinghamshire but all over the world. This is not a celebration of difference, but a celebration of the diversity within our city, our community and everywhere else. That being said, expect a spectacular amount of colourful drag queens, rainbow stalls, beautiful gays and lovely lesbians, amongst a swathe of good food, great music and fabulous entertainment. See you at the Arboretum!

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