Why I walk with Pride…
This year I walked with over 10,000 people through the streets of Newcastle City Centre, celebrating Pride.
Like many people attending, I marched because I believe equal rights are for all, and that we all have a duty to safeguard those rights.
This is the eighth year that that the City of Newcastle has hosted Northern Pride with over 28,000 people joining in the celebrations. It has now become the largest free festival in the country for lesbian, gay, bisexual and Transgender people and their friends, families and allies.
The sky over central station was lit up in the colours of the rainbow to provide a warm welcome to those visiting Newcastle. A wide range of events and activities took place as part of the celebrations, including, film screenings, gallery exhibitions and concerts which adds to the vibrancy of our city.
Pride is organised by community volunteers, who commit their time and energy to host a festival that brings together people from all communities and cultures. Entertainment is on offer for both families and people of all ages which delivers huge benefits to our local economy.
We can learn so much from events like these. Pride is not only a time to celebrate it is also a time to remember those who have protested, campaigned and struggled in the past to gain both acceptance and equal rights.
It is an opportunity to reflect how laws which once oppressed have gradually been replaced by laws which empower. From equalising the age of consent, improving adoption and fostering rights to most recently legalising same-sex marriage.
The vigil that I attended to close Pride remembers those who still face prejudice or violence each day because of who they are and who they love. Things are changing, but we need to continue to tackle ignorance, intolerance and hatred so that all people, everywhere, are accepted without exception.
I strongly believe that we should do everything that we can to make this world a place where everyone can be safe and be proud of who they are. Until that time I will continue to walk with those who fight oppression and tackle injustice.