A greener rainbow for Exeter Pride on May 2
Exciting plans are being made for Exeter Pride on Saturday, May 2 – and it promises to be the greenest yet.
In a bold move, the trustees have banned petrol and diesel vehicles (other than statutory requirements) from its colourful rainbow march through Exeter High Street.
Electric vehicles, bicycles, giant rainbow flags, morris dancers, Street Heat samba band and thousands of representatives from community groups and organisations have already booked in to take part in the march.
In a new move this year, the march will start, for the first time, from an area near Exeter Cathedral and make its way to Northernhay Gardens and Rougemont Gardens.
In addition, there will be a vast reduction in single-use plastics during the day and stallholders and exhibitors have been asked to be more environmentally-conscious.
The “greener” move follows consultation meetings with the local branch of Extinction Rebellion and representatives from that group will be assisting with recycling on the day.
Exeter Pride is one of the South West’s biggest celebrations of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and questioning plus (LGBTQ+) communities, and one of the biggest free Pride events in the country.
This year Exeter Pride is promoting #Unashamed.
Simon Bowkett, chair of Exeter Pride committee, said: “Our brilliant campaign #Unashamed, aims to reach out and encourage every single person in Exeter’s LGBTQ+ community to stand up, be counted, use their voice and give a clear message to the wider society that whoever they are, they very much matter.
“At present, we live in very challenging times that have caused a great deal of division within our society, and this has filtered down to our communities at a local level.
“Exeter Pride’s #Unashamed campaign as an initiative could play a significant part in counteracting some of the unpleasant things the LGBTQ+ community is frequently experiencing today including – hate crimes have increased dramatically; homophobia, bigotry and some peoples’ very existences are becoming topics for ‘legitimate’ debate; and that’s just for starters.
“Here at Exeter Pride, we are striving to do what we can to unite our community and begin the work of turning this tide of negativity around. #Unashamed is about empowering Exeter’s LGBTQ+ community to be confident, proud, to stand together, be seen and have their voices heard.”
Simon added: “Exeter Pride is a celebration of the city and county’s LGBTQ+ communities.
“It is about us having pride in our contributions to not just a vibrant and diverse city, but all of Devon and the city and county having pride in us.
“We are particularly excited about our #Unashamed campaign and leading the Pride movement by example by banning all but statutory petrol and diesel vehicles from our march.
“We are a community-owned and campaigning organisation celebrating and representing our local LGBTQ+ community and promoting local LGBTQ+ talent and organisations.
“After our march we deliver a free festival to celebrate our diversity and culture as LGBTQ+ people, and the event is fully accessible and inclusive attracting allies as well as our own community.
“The festival provides free entertainment for all ages, has an impressive marketplace, plus a wellbeing zone, access to health charities and organisations and services.
“Last year more than 10,000 people visited the festival, all made possible thanks to partnerships with many organisations and support from more than 50 volunteers.
“Our small group of trustees work incredibly hard to make it all happen and credit must go to them for their efforts.
“Come along to Exeter Pride on May 2 to support the local LGBTQ+ community in reaching out to those from across the county.”
Alan Quick, the co-founder of Exeter Pride, said he was delighted how the annual event had grown since the very first Pride in the city in 2009. He extended thanks to all those who had supported Exeter Pride since it began.
He said: “Without the support of previous trustees, volunteers, committee members, sponsors, partners and other supporters, as well as those currently involved, Exeter Pride would not be the tremendous annual event it is now.
“Year-on-year it has grown thanks to the active involvement of so many people.
“Those people have helped Exeter Pride fulfil its aims, to promote equality and diversity for the public benefit and in particular the elimination of discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity through awareness-raising, advancing community education, and by holding an annual LGBTQ+ festival.
“Whilst Exeter Pride is a celebration of how far we have come with regards to equality, the charity is also keen to recognise and to educate on LGBTQ+ history, contributions to culture, and raise awareness of on-going LGBTQ+ struggles in the UK and further afield.”
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