ISLE OF WIGHT PRIDE
BID TO HOST UK PRIDE 2018
THE HEAT IS ON.....
We want to tell you a little something about Isle of Wight Pride.....
We are proud to give you a little bit of background about what has been a historic and groundbreaking year for the Ile of Wight!
In 2016, just prior to the Orlando shootings, a Parish Councillor in Sandown said in an open council meeting that he wanted to hire attendants to stop the “paedophiles, pigeons and homosexuals” from using the public toilets. Despite causing national outrage, this town councillor was not challenged by the Island.
At this time, there was a sizable LGBT population, but there was no scene or community. There was a Gay Men’s Chorus which was successful and hosted a number of concerts to raise funds. There was a fledgling youth group called Breakout, and AgeUK had just appointed their first LGBT worker. Other than this, there was no community to stand up and make a stand against such bigotry.
When the Orlando shootings happened, the AgeUK worker and a police Lesbian & Gay Liaison Officer (LAGLO) worked together to put on a vigil. Expecting a small turnout, over 200 people turned out to show support and to remember those who had lost their lives. This started a buzz and the discussion turned to whether or not the Island would be ready for their first ever Pride event.
A small group formed to start progressing the discussion and in November 2016, a survey was created to gather the views of the LGBT community on the Island - the big unknown!
The local weekly newspaper, the Isle of Wight County Press, picked up on this questionnaire and published a short article to announce that the Island would be having their first Pride event. What followed was unexpected and shocked us all! One of the columnists in the paper, who was always known for courting controversy, wrote a column entitled “Pride Parade - Do a deal?” and proceeded to write a very homophobic piece in which she asked the LGBT+ community to remain quiet and also questioned sexual openness. This spurred the organisers of Pride onwards and resulted in a huge wave of public support for Pride from the general Island community and beyond.
Still feeling humble about the love and support from the community, the organisers of IWPride went about organising the Island’s first ever Pride, whilst also bringing large numbers of fringe events, providing numerous social opportunities for the LGBT+ community to come together in a way they had never been able to before.
Then in May 2017 the incumbent MP, Andrew Turner, was asked in a school by some pupils who were enthusiastic about the upcoming Pride event, whether or not he would be attending. Turner’s response was “no” and he is then alleged to have gone on to say that he thought that gay people were ‘a danger to society’. Once again thrusting Pride into the spotlight, turning the country’s eyes onto the Isle of Wight in a negative way and showing how Pride was now even more important to the Island. Turner quit on the same day after a media storm.
Come July 15th 2017, the organisers were incredibly nervous. It had been a tumultuous year and they weren't sure how the community would respond. The Island has always been referred to in a negative way when it comes to equality and diversity, often being likened to somewhere stuck in the 1950’s in its attitudes as well as its road network. To stand on the main street in Ryde and be surrounded by over four thousand people as the parade made its way though the town to huge roars of support and made its way to the UK’s first ever Beach Pride was the most amazing experience ever.
As a community without an LGBT+ scene, many people on the Island attended IWPride 2017 as their first ever Pride or, indeed, their first ever LGBT+ event. Whilst Southampton and Portsmouth Prides are nearby, many Islanders are either unable to attend due to fear, travel costs or the fact that these are also new and fledgling Pride events. Many of our schools and young people are not exposed to diversity in the same way that other areas of the country are and the Solent can often make people feel isolated.
We were overwhelmed by the huge amount of support for this event and are very excited to announce that we will be welcoming everyone to Ryde on Sat 21st July 2018 for the second ever Isle of Wight Pride!
INTRODUCING THE ISLE OF WIGHT PRIDE COMMITTEE
We have a fantastic team all working very hard behind the scenes, getting everything in place, organised and ready to bring you the debut Pride event that the Isle of Wight has been waiting for. We hope you can work with us to achieve our goals and we look forward to welcoming you to this momentous event. As well as many working groups, covering the main event, the evening event, the Parade and everything IW Pride. We also have a core Committee overseeing the organisation of IW Pride. Here we introduce you to these key characters.
"My hope is that Pride will be a celebration of how love wins over hate and how the Isle of Wight community supports and welcomes everyone no matter who they love or what gender they identify as"
I was born and bred in Brighton. Growing up in a town renowned for its openess and acceptance for LGBT people was a positive experience. I moved to the Island in 2010 with my partner Joe and initially we struggled to meet like minded people. There were no club nights, no social opportunities and it felt hard to setlle down. After settling, we felt it was important to give something back to the Island and have worked tirelessly in the past few years to create social opportunities for LGBT people, including a hugely successful Gay Mens Chorus, which sadly didnt continue when I stepped down as Chairman due to working in London. Now I feel passionately about creating an amazing Pride event for the whole Island to experience what I was fortunate enough to in Brighton and also to showcase our beautiful Island.
Who would you invite to Pride?
Easy answer! Lady Gaga!
My hopes for Pride
Pride isnt about the whole community coming together for a common cause. Our Pride will be about the WHOLE Island community coming together, regardless of sexuality and being able to stand together and say that we are all equal, regardless of our sexuality, Gender Identity or background. Ive had some fascinating discussions over the past year and its clear that our Island community are open to diversity and are really accepting. However, we all (wrongly) believe that the Island community are not accepting of difference and are in the dark ages. Pride will be an amazing opportunity for our Island to stand up and say with Pride - We Welcome Everyone. - LoveWins
"I hope all the hard work and effort will pay off and that we create a legacy for many years to come. We also want to have a big impact on the lives of vulnerable and isolated people who do not feel free to be themselves."
Although my parents were both born on Island, I was born in Peterborough (my dad was in the RAF). We moved around a bit when I was a child and then settled back on the Island when I was 11 years old. I went to Swanmore Middle School, followed by Ryde High School and IW College, where I trained to be a Secretary.
I moved to London at 18 years where I did a variety of secretarial jobs, including 18 months working for the Jean Paul Getty Charitable Trust, and a few years as PA to the Director of Nursing in a mental health unit, just at the time of Care in the Community being implemented. I learned a great deal about life and how diverse it is, from my time in London and still love to visit on a regular basis.
I moved back to the Island after approximately 7 years and have been working at the Council since 1992.
I am the Equalities Officer for the Local Government branch of UNISON and it is this role that has me involved in IW Pride. I am very passionate about equality and everyone being treated fairly and with dignity and respect. I am proud to be involved with IW Pride in the role of Secretary.
Who would you invite to Pride
Everyone is welcome! The more the merrier!
My hopes for Pride
Sunshine for the 15 July! Ryde Esplanade to be a sea of Rainbows……
I want Pride to show that the Isle of Wight is welcoming to everyone; that we are an inclusive community and welcome diversity, and that the Island is a great place to visit and live.
I want to ensure the Island has moved on from the times when one of my oldest friends left the Island due to the hate and assaults he suffered as a result of ignorance about his sexuality and disability.
#Love Wins and what better way to prove this, than with a Pride event? This will be the greatest beach party Ryde has ever seen!
Visit Isle of Wight
Ryde Town Council
Visit Isle of Wight
Ryde Town Council
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