In July Sheffield hosted one of its biggest Pride events yet in Endcliffe Park – and certainly one of the largest attended marches and parades down Ecclesall Road in Pride’s ten-year history. Sheffield Pride is one of the few remaining free Pride events in the country – and is organised by a small group of hardworking committee members made up of LGBT+ people. It is a colourful and diverse event – and is such a great showcase for Sheffield!
The young people from SAYiT’s youth groups proudly led the parade – marching to the uplifting music of Woodhouse Prize Brass Band. Many of the young people were wearing the brightly adorned sequinned capes they had carefully made, proudly waving their rainbow flags. It was a pure delight to see the joy on their faces and their sense of celebration. We were pleased, too, to have some of their parents join us on the march – some of whom were equally dressed for the occasion, waving their own supportive banners – as well as some of our Trustees.
Some of our young people opened the Pride event singing and dancing on the main stage – undeterred from giving their all in spite of a few sound problems! – And what a great way it was to kick off the event. We are grateful to our youth workers who have been working so hard with the young people to practice over the past few weeks for the big opening performance on stage – and hugely indebted to one of our volunteers, Shirley Harris, who led on the project and committed so much of her expertise, time and energy to ensure that the young people performed so perfectly! Thank you Shirley – and to all of our other volunteers who helped on the day!
Meanwhile other staff and volunteers were working in a marquee providing activities and quiet space for our young people as well as promoting the services offered by SAYiT. Everyone worked so hard on that day – and I know that their dedication and commitment paid off!
Pride is both about celebration and protest – a celebration of the amazing contribution LGBT+ people make to this city; a celebration of the LGBT+ people and their allies who have fought to gain greater equality; and a protest which recognises that LGBT+ communities still face prejudice and continue to be discriminated against in this country as well as globally. It is also a reminder to those of us who identify as LGBT+ that we have more to do to challenge discrimination and prejudice within our own communities when it comes to issues such as race, sexism and misogyny, disability and transphobia.
Pride 2018 was a great celebration – both a joyous and colourful event which showed Sheffield to be a vibrant and inclusive city – and its people, whether they are from the LGBT+ communities or not, to be truly accepting and generous of spirit. Even the brief downpour did nothing to dampen spirits as the audience danced the conga to the music ‘Love Train’.
Our young people consistently tell us that Pride means so much to them and that it is one of the few days of the year that they can truly be themselves. By all accounts this year did not disappoint!
Please find a write up of the event in the Sheffield Star here.