2019 marks 50 years since the Stonewall Uprising in New York and the establishment of Pride, and this weekend was host to three different Pride festivals! Brighton, Leeds and Belfast donned their best rainbow outfits and decorated the city in technicolour to celebrate LGBTQ+ Pride.
Brighton Pride’s theme was ‘Generations of Love’, and the city looked absolutely gorgeous as they celebrated the importance of love and equality. A 50 metre rainbow flag was taken through the streets of Brighton down to the streets, followed by thousands of people joining in with the Parade. The celebration also saw performers such as Zak Abel, Clean Bandit and Grace Jones taking to the stage to celebrate Pride – much to the audience’s joy!
The much anticipated headline performer was Kylie Minogue, a long-standing Gay icon and supporter of Pride. However, the festival was hit with multiple complaints over the lack of disabled access to her performance, as multiple people with disabled access wristbands were turned away from the accessibility tent due to being ‘at capacity’. Those who had been promised a space in the access area were told to watch the performance from inside a tent because there simply wasn’t enough space. This is severely problematic – a festival celebrating inclusivity and acceptance should not be excluding disabled or less abled revellers from celebrating. Pride should be an inclusive space for everyone! Brighton Pride have since apologised, but many festival-goers have requested refunds for their tickets.
This year also saw the launch of #WeStandTogether, an initiative from Brighton Pride which is ‘a call to action for all in the LGBTQ+ community and our allies to stand up to all types of discrimination as we celebrate Pride and the advances in equality and inclusion over the last 5 decades’. The campaign was promoted throughout Brighton, and aims to raise awareness about inequality, transphobia and homophobia. Although our work at Black Heart Label focuses mainly on eliminating homophobia in sport, it still makes us happy every time we see another organisation pop up focusing on LGBTQ+ equality in any way!
Leeds Pride, themed ‘One Love’, saw singer Tulisa headlining, with other acts such as Guilty Pleasures and Surely Bassey, a much loved Shirely Bassey impersonator, performing across the day. The Pride Parade itself featured over 130 groups flying the pride flag on floats, and saw over 60,000 people take to the streets. We were particularly happy to see Marching Out Together the Leeds United Supporters Group for LGBT+ fans and their allies featuring in the parade. Indeed, our founder activist and designer Amal Fashanu created Black Heart Label in the memory of her uncle Justin Fashanu, England’s first openly gay footballer.
In Belfast, the Pride flag flew over the City Hall for the first time ever, conveying the huge change in attitude towards LTBQ+ equality in Northern Ireland since same-sex marriage equality was overwhelmingly voted through parliament last month. Belfast Lord Mayor John Finucane stated that ‘At the break of dawn, I was proud to help raise the Pride flag over City Hall for the very first time in our history. This is hugely significant for Belfast’. ‘Rights Now’ was the theme for Belfast Pride, taking inspiration from key transgender activists throughout history such as Marsha P. Johnson. Tens of thousands of people turned out to celebrate equality, and it looked like a beautiful day!
Although there is still a long way to go before LGBTQ+ discrimination is wiped out, it is wonderful seeing events such as these truly celebrating and promoting equality. Equality is at the heart of our work and we love to be able to post about positive news surrounding equality and the fight for equal rights. We can’t wait to see what next year’s Pride has in store!