Pride came to the North East this past weekend with the 10th annual Northern Pride celebration in Newcastle! I was lucky enough to have attended this year and event bagged a VIP pass thanks to nightsoutinnewcastle.co.uk. I thought I’d share with you all about what I got up to and a bit more about the fabulous AND FREE event. Happy Pride everyone!
As with all pride events around the world, the main festival starts with a parade through the city centre. The history of the parade dates back to 1969 when the Stonewall Inn in New York City was raided by the police, sparking a riot and moment that has subsequently being dubbed as the ‘start of the modern LGBT+ rights movement’. What was once a political stand, the pride parade is now more of a celebration of love. I find it very emotional seeing the different LGBT+ organisations, supporters and spectators all together for the same reason. Families with small children can also be seen enjoying the parade which I think provides an invaluable lesson in teaching them that people of different sexual orientations and gender are to be accepted!
The Pride Festival on Town Moor
The main festival happens on Newcastle’s Town Moor and includes live musical and comedy acts, dance and cabaret tents, food, drink and much more. There is also a lot of LGBT+ services showcasing the fantastic work they do including sexual and mental health stands. Highlights from my day spent there on Saturday include mooching around the craft stalls, drinking one too many pints (yes, pints) of Pimms, seeing Steptastic (a Steps tribute band -throwback to my childhood) and just revelling in the feeling of love and pride that seems to be floating in the air.
Why is Pride still important?
In the UK we now have equal marriage, advancing trans rights and a multitude of laws put in place to prevent discrimination. It is with this that many people, of all backgrounds have begun to question the ‘need for pride’. Here is my answer in 3 main points.
- Pride is 100% still needed and relevant. It is still harder to grow up LGBT+ in this country. Incidences of mental health conditions are higher in the community than the general population which is often correlated to growing up in hetero-normative society. Speaking from my own experience, I feel like my own mental health has suffered due to feeling different and ostracised in school from a young age. Members of the community often feel like their needs aren’t properly addressed by healthcare professionals, teachers, peers and so on. There are still huge advancements that can be made in this country. I’d like to think that ‘coming out’ won’t be a thing in the future as it won’t just be presumed that you’re straight and cis-gender.
- Pride is 100% still needed and relevant. Homosexuality is still illegal in huge parts of Asia, Africa and the Middle East. The right to change gender is still illegal in around 20 countries. In most of the world, same-sex couple cannot legally adopt a child. Much of the world offers no protection against discrimination. In Chechnya there are reports of hundreds of gay men being round up and put in Nazi-like concentration camps with many killings reported. Just last month, Istanbul Pride was broken up by police who used rubber bullets and water cannons. Detect the theme? There are still millions of people around the world directly persecuted for being LGBT+. This is why pride is relevant.
- Pride is 100% still needed and relevant. Pride should be used to remember the people who were brave enough to start the fight for equal rights. We should also remember the victims of the Aids crisis who’s lives could have been saved if the governments actually addressed the issue and didn’t use it as a campaign to spread hate and fear across wider society.
These are just a few reasons that I think pride events across the world are still so important. They’re also very fun!
I’d like to thank ‘Nights Out In Newcastle’ for getting me and my friend VIP passes so we could access the ‘Golden Circle’ and have an even better pride experience. They are the ‘go to’ website for events happening in Newcastle offering plenty of recommendations whether you’re looking for places to eat or planning a weekend bar crawl. You can check out their website here!
I took some photos and did a live video from the day so if you head over to their Facebook page you can see those, too!#
Have you visited a Pride event this year?
Would you recommend any other festivals?
What does Pride mean to you?
I’d love to hear in the comments!