Following on from our Pride Month celebrations in June, we welcome a guest blog from Northern Pride talking about their challenges in organising Northern Pride, the impact of the pandemic on LGBTQ+ communities, and how they are expanding activities and events beyond Northern Pride weekend:
Northern Pride Online 2.1 is taking place over the weekend of 22nd to 24th July. As the biggest and best known LGBTQ+ charitable organisation in our region, Northern Pride is delighted to be invited to write a guest blog for Connected Voice in the week ahead of this year’s festival.
As the name suggests, we had to make the hard but unavoidable decision that Northern Pride 2021 could not go ahead as a live in-person event. The logistics and financial risks involved were simply too great, and at the time we had to make this choice – in February – there were too many variables and uncertainties. As it turns out, coming hard on the heels of the changes of 19th July, we know that this was the right decision. Our aim is to provide an inclusive, affordable and safe environment, and we know that the most vulnerable in our communities would have been the least able to attend a large scale live event.
This is not a choice we made lightly and, although we would love to deliver a fantastic, inclusive live event to celebrate the diversity of our communities, our first priority is keeping our attendees, volunteers and emergency services safe.
As a result we also, once again, made the difficult decision to postpone our UK Pride event, which will now take place from 22 – 24 July 2022. This will give us a wonderful platform to showcase the very best of what the North East has to offer to LGBTQ+ people from across the UK.
Since we were awarded UK Pride status, our promise has been to ‘elevate and celebrate the North East’s LGBTQ+ communities’. This has become all the more needed, as a consequence of the impact of the pandemic, and the disproportionate effect it’s had – and continues to have - on our communities, this promise is stronger than ever before.
As well as offering an online version of the Northern Pride 2021 festival – bigger and better than the online event we staged in 2020, Northern Pride takes its responsibility to the wider LGBTQ+ sector very seriously. We’ve also been expanding our activities into events and activities throughout the year.
The health inequalities, needs and challenges face by LGBTQ+ people before the pandemic have been thrown into sharp relief by its impact, and for many of us have worsened. At Northern Pride we’ll be doing all we can to highlight these, respond ourselves, and to support and enable the wider Voluntary Community and Social Enterprise sector to meaningfully meet those needs – both amongst LGBTQ+ organisations and mainstream ones.
You can find out more about Northern Pride Online 2.1 on our new website. Whilst we build content our new website, which will soon be filled with everything you need for a healthy, safe and active LGBTQ+ life here in the North East of England…if you need us we’re here.
Happy Northern Pride 2021 – to everyone!