Activist community

Bolton Pride 2022: Why Pride is so important to the LGBTQ+ community

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the first Pride rally in the UK.

The very first Pride event took place in New York City on June 28, 1970, organized by bisexual activist Brenda Howard in response to the Stonewall Riots that took place on the same day the previous year.

New York police raided the Stonewall Inn, a gay club in Greenwich Village, and violently dragged patrons and staff out into the street. The incident sparked six days of reactionary protests and violent clashes with police outside the bar.

The Stonewall Riots have been described as the catalyst for the global gay rights movement. In fact, this first Pride rally was actually called the Christopher Street Liberation Day March – Christopher Street being where the Stonewall Inn was located, and thus the march.

Two years after that march and three years after the riots, the first official Gay Pride rally in the UK took place in London on July 1, 1972.

READ: Bolton Pride is back and it’s going to be bigger and better than ever

Rob Wright, Associate Director of Bolton Pride, said: “Pride is a march against hate crimes. It is a demonstration. Stand out from the crowd and don’t be silent.

“They started as a means of not being oppressed and have continued to grow exponentially.”

Bolton Pride 2019

Fast forward 50 years, and Bolton Pride is gearing up for its latest Pride event, having first held a Pride event in 2015 when prominent LGBTQ+ rights activist and Hollywood actor Sir Ian McKellen was a guest at honor.

Coronavirus restrictions in 2020 meant Bolton Pride was forced online, and in 2021 there were a number of smaller, scaled down events.

Pride, in its simplest definition, is a protest against inequality. The Stonewall Riots were the LGBTQ+ community fighting back against the hate crimes they suffered – particularly at the hands of the police that day, but more generally what they had to put up with every day as part of a community that society at the time rejected.

Although, thanks to the gay rights movement and events like Pride, the situation in the community has improved over the past 50 years – at least in the UK and the US – major improvements are still needed. regarding attitudes in society.

This is why pride remains so important. It is an annual reminder of the steps to follow.

“We’d like to think that one day we won’t need a pride,” Mr Wright said.

“It’s about raising awareness, educating, working together in collaboration and unity. This is the world of tomorrow.

Mr. Wright’s own experiences prove that Pride is still absolutely necessary. He told The Bolton News that he had been the victim of abuse related to his sexual orientation.

“I have experienced it. People just shout things. I was called X, Y and Z.

The Bolton News: Rob Wright, Associate Director of Bolton PrideAssociate Director of Bolton Pride Rob Wright

He says he has been called af****t before while driving in a supermarket car park in Bolton for no particular reason.

“What makes people feel good about yelling or saying that? »

He added: “If we don’t stand up for ourselves, we won’t be heard.”

The creation of the Pride of Bolton in 2015 was partly a reaction to the release of statistics earlier in the year which showed that hate crimes against LGBTQ+ people in Bolton had increased by 135% the previous year.

PRIDE 2015: Organizers speak out on backlash to Bolton Pride plans

Recently, The Bolton News reported that recorded hate crimes against the LGBTQ+ community have more than doubled in the past five years.

Mr Wright fears the actual number is much higher, but many go unreported. The relationship between the community and the police has historical complications – leading it to call on people to trust the police with their complaints.

Chief Superintendent Rick Jackson, Hate Crimes Officer for Greater Manchester Police (GMP), said: ‘Greater Manchester has a diverse population, with people of different faiths and backgrounds and that is something to we’re proud, that’s what makes us the city we are .

“Hate crimes can have a detrimental effect on our communities and have a significant impact on the life and well-being of the victim, which is why they will not be tolerated by GMP, and our officers are committed to supporting members of the LGBTQ community who experience hate crime and take all incidents reported to us seriously.

Bolton News: Bolton Pride 2019Bolton Pride 2019

“As a force, we work with partners and victims to hold offenders accountable for their actions. Our work with Community Safety Partnerships across Manchester aims to raise awareness of available support for victims, encourage the reporting of crimes and incidents and protect our communities.

“This work is bolstered by the close working relationship GMP has with the Crown Prosecution Service and the innovative work carried out to improve engagement and services for victims of hate incidents.

“We also have independent advisory groups that engage with our communities and encourage members of the public to come and observe and offer advice on policing practices, as well as a pilot project in place that has been put in place to ensure we are achieving the best outcome for victims, as well as finding ways to minimize recidivism. We hope this work will build the confidence of victims to come forward to report a hate crime.

“It is essential that we all stand united against hate crime and I would encourage anyone who has been the victim of a hate crime, or actually witnesses an incident, to report it to Greater Manchester Police at ‘101’ or to visit www.letsendhatecrime.com to report or receive help and support. »

Bolton News:

Bolton Pride 2022 schedule

For a weekend of special events, Pride will be back in town on the first weekend of August 5-7.

Saturday will be the main event day in Victoria Square with acts and performances including jugglers, stilt walkers and drag queens.

There will also be a Pride Parade from Queens Park all the way downtown.

Sunday will be a day of family fun with Pride organizers working closely with Bolton Wanderers at Home.

Calendar

  • Friday 5 August – Pride in Bolton Parade and Festival 2022 launch party
  • Saturday August 6 – Queen Park Parade
  • Saturday August 6 – Festival at Square Victoria until 6 p.m.
  • Saturday August 6 – After Party 7 p.m.
  • Sunday, August 7 – Family day at Square Victoria until 4 p.m.