This Saturday August 18th sees the return of LGBT+ Pride at FirstSite from 11am to 10pm. This is Colchester’s second Pride event. Following last year’s successful day, when over 2000 people attended FirstSite’s largest attended event since its opening, another great day has been planned and is supported by Outhouse East, Unison, Colchester Arts Centre and FirstSite.

It is expected that numbers will rise this year as the team of dedicated volunteers have devised a programme of events to celebrate equality and diversity throughout the day. Entry is just £5!

Local artists, performers and musicians are billed including Jesters ShowChoir, The Horrible Dolphins (BBC Radio 1 and 6 music), Stiff in the Morning, The Witch Kids and Grandma’s Waffle Velocity.

There will be short workshops and talks as well as an array of stalls, as the event is billed as a day of celebration and education. For those with children there is face painting, games, workshops, yoga and more.

Representatives of Outhouse East, Essex’s only LGBT+ charity, will also have a stall, promoting their work. Colchester Gay Classic Car group will also return this year. There will also be food and merchandise stalls.

At 8pm there is a showing of The Rocky Horror Picture Show, which celebrates its 43rd anniversary year (wristband required) with audience partici…pation encouraged. Time to dig out the fishnets, Basque’s, heels and make up and join us for The Time Warp…..again! There are 2 after parties one at Colchester Brewhouse and a silent disco at the arts centre.

Why do we have Pride and why is it still important that we visibly celebrate our equality and diversity?

On June 28th 1969 a series of riots began at The Stonewall Bar in New York when the gay community and in particular transsexual community, began to fight back against continuous raids and discrimination by the police. This night led to the creation of the gay liberation movement in the USA, and June became Pride month.

Here in the UK the Sexual offences Act of 1967 decriminalised sex between 2 consulting males, though homophobia remained rife throughout the following decades. The first ever official UK Pride was held on 1st July 1972, (it being the nearest Saturday to the Stonewall riots), held in London and every year since.

So why do we still need to have Pride, haven’t we got equality?

We march during June, (& July & August, now) for all those who cant. For our brothers & sisters Worldwide. To the 72 countries that criminalise us, vilify, persecute and put us to death, we will never stay silent. Pride events are held up and down the country in most major cities and towns, with each offering its own unique style, but all with the same desire to continue to break down stigma and discrimination, to educate and celebrate our uniqueness.

Many, like London, Manchester & Brighton are now huge events, with carnival parades & funfairs, massive stages and performances by big celebrity names, and cabaret tents hosting the biggest drag stars the world has to offer. As well as raising huge amounts for charity, they cost tens of thousands of pounds to produce.

Colchester has Pride is still in it’s infancy, and it’s committee have concentrated on making the event more family friendly. This has been happening at Pride all over the world for years. Colchester has Pride will continue to grow, It is hoped that the committee will grow, that sponsorship and funding will grow exponentially and importantly attract more tourists to our ever growing, ever changing town.

Happy Pride, Colchester!

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