I attended my first Colchester has Pride on Saturday. As I stood amongst the crowds, a cacophony of rainbow flags and derivatives thereof, exhibiting the diverse nature of the LGBTQIAPP community, I had my moment of Pride. Proud that as a man of a certain age, and a visible, active and outspoken member of the UK LGBT+ community, that the events happening all around me have resulted from years of political pressure and a community that fought back.

Colchester DOES have Pride, and I shall be eating humble pie for the next few weeks and feeding it’s harshest critics with a bunch of sour grapes, and a side dish of chips on your shoulder. I’m man enough to say when I’m wrong, and am happy to report that the LGBT+ community were fully represented at the event. Prides are historically political, yet Colchester has Pride wanted to present a family friendly day. It reminded me of the early May fairs of Wivenhoe past.

The day began for many, putting up stalls, setting up their space, adding the final touches to the building, setting of the stage, checking sound systems and final security checks. The array of stalls was impressive. Inside were representatives from many groups like the NHS & The Samaritans as well as stalls selling beauty products and other merchandise.

At the front of the building were the gay classic car club, with an array of motors from their members collections and The Pink ladies Pole and Arial welcomed people to the building. Outside the entertainment began with a couple of solo performances, as numbers in attendance began to grow. The stalls outside including Terrence Higgins Trust, Outhouse East and The Liberal Democrats, with delicious food stalls dotted around.

A slow start with 2 acoustic solo performers welcoming everyone to Pride, whilst people milled between the inside and out, some attending kids workshops, talks or spoken word in the auditorium, others buying merchandise or checking out the stalls.

Horrible Dolphins an Essex based Punk duo really kicked things off, and the dancing children were having the time of their lives. Coincidentally if you want to catch them and I highly recommend them and predict huge things for, they are at Colchester Brewhouse this Saturday. We even had a slight pause whilst a couple entered into their marriage vows over at the Minories.

Stiff in the Morning began their set and that was when I had my moment. Our LGBT+ youth with their energy and attitude rushed before the stage strutting, twerking, high kicking and dropping as if their lives depended on it. I remember thinking how lucky they are, to have not faced the struggles that many of us of a certain generation have, freeing them from any political agenda.

It was shortly after this point that I had to leave, to walk my dog and tend to other responsibilities, but I received posts all night from people enjoying The Rocky Horror Picture Show, from The Brewhouse and the silent Queer Disco at The Arts Centre, so I’ve no doubt that the merriment making went on for some until the small hours.

This was a grass roots, low expenditure, low risk event, brought about by sheer grit and determination, with very little funding or sponsorship. The committee are to be congratulated on a hugely successful day, that not only welcomed families with children, but a rainbow of beautiful people coming to gather to celebrate diversity.

Another slice of Humble Pie anyone?

Peter Greening.

Here are a few photos that Peter took on the day:

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