Thousands expected to embrace Norwich Pride

Liz Jeffcoat, front left, leads the Norwich Pride parade. Picture: Denise Bradley Liz Jeffcoat, front left, leads the Norwich Pride parade. Picture: Denise Bradley

Wednesday, July 16, 2014
4:49 PM

The streets of Norwich are set to be filled with colour and joy when the sixth Norwich Pride takes place on July 26.

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What not to miss at the Norwich Pride festival

• 10am onwards: Stalls at The Forum, Millennium Plain.

More than 40 stalls inside the Forum and outside on Millennium Plain; don’t miss the Norwich Pride Shop.

• 10am: Breakfast with BLAH LGBT Youth in Fusion at The Forum.

BLAH is part of the Norfolk LGBT Project, you can be the first to see their Proud Schools multimedia exhibition showcasing the work of Norfolk Schools, tackling homophobia and transphobia in the classroom and the playground.

• Question time debate at 12pm in the Curve at the Forum.

Debate featuring human rights activist Peter Tatchell, Elly Barnes, the director of education and training LGBT History Month, and musician and trans/LGBT activist CN Lester.

• 12pm: Entertainment and picnic at Chapelfield Gardens.

Pass the time with friends, family and a picnic enjoying entertainment from the bandstand by Dead Goats, Bean Juice Electrical Fire, Johnny Jump Band and Ballroom dancing.

• 2pm: The Parade.

The fabulous sounds of the Norwich Samba Band and Sing with Pride Choir will fill the streets as the parade makes its way from Chapelfield Gardens, through the city centre.

The free family-friendly event aims to be an all-inclusive celebration of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transexual (LGBT) community.

Colour is at the centre of the festivities and thousands of people are expected to mark the occasion with painted faces, colourful clothing and waving the rainbow flag.

An estimated 5,000-10,000 people joined in the fun last year and the numbers should remain high with the exciting schedule ahead.

Dean Simons, chairman of Norwich Pride 2014, said: “It seems to be getting bigger and bigger every year. Last year was absolutely phenomenal as it was our fifth year. It’s like a big carnival – that’s the way I look at it.”

The Norwich Pride parade. The 50 metre long rainbow flag from Exeter Pride. Picture: Denise BradleyThe Norwich Pride parade. The 50 metre long rainbow flag from Exeter Pride. Picture: Denise Bradley

The venture, which aims to ensure Norwich is a safe area where people can feel proud, receives donations from local businesses and gay venues which, in return, advertise in the Pride Guide.

Mr Simons became chairman last year after working as the access steward for the organisation.

He was excited to get people to become involved in the weekend. He said: “We’re out there and we’re not going away, we want to break down homophobic barriers.” Mr Simons credits the event, which in his experience has always been received positively, as being active in preventing homophobia.

He said: “We get a lot of people asking what it is all about; we are promoting being proud of what you are.”

Getting ready for the Norwich Pride parade. Picture: Denise BradleyGetting ready for the Norwich Pride parade. Picture: Denise Bradley

The programme kicked off with the official launch party of the Pride Guide and continues until the spectacular finale on Saturday, July 26.

Here are some ways you can be involved in the excitement:

• Got Pride, Love Pride – Norwich Pride is calling for people to send in what makes them proud: whether it’s friends, family or loved ones, they want to know.

• Take your art, photos, poems or messages to St Margaret’s Church of Art in St Benedict’s Street, for them to take pride of place on the Got Pride, Love Pride wall at Pride Without Prejudice which runs until August 2. Alternatively, email becky@norwichpride.org.uk.

• The first debate of the week ‘Are young LGBT people safe in schools?’ will take place on July 23 at 6.30pm.

It will feature guest speakers Annette Pryce, LGBT executive member for the National Union of Teachers, and Henry Needham, sixth- form student at Reepham High School.

• On Saturday, July 26, at 11am Norwich Pride is hosting ‘Beyond a fringe issue: Why everyone should care about trans rights’.

The guest speaker will be CN Lester and will remember Natasha Curson, a trans activist who lived locally and was a good friend to Norwich Pride.

Are you putting on an event to celebrate local diversity? Email newsdesk@archant.co.uk

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