With last week's announcement from Boris instilling a sprinkle of hope into the certainty of 2021’s festival and events landscape, many events are taking to postpone later into the Summer to ensure they can take place after the (very optimistic) date of June 21st.
The first of our clients to follow suit was Birmingham Pride, announcing that their rescheduled event will now go ahead on the 25th and 26th of September as opposed to their usual May dates.
So, with 2021 looking like the year Pride makes its post-coronavirus debut, let’s delve into the history of the event and what they stand for!
The History of Gay Pride
Pride parades are outdoor events celebrating LGBTQ social and self acceptance, achievements, legal rights, and pride. The parades are all about creating community and honouring the history of the movement. The rooted message behind the parades is to criticise space which has typically amplified heteronormativity, and so any act appearing to be LGBTQ is considered somewhat rebellious by society.
There are five main Pride events in the UK: London, Brighton, Liverpool, Manchester, and Birmingham (being the cities with the biggest gay populations - hiya!). Usually held over the Spring Bank Holiday weekend before COVID hit, Birmingham Pride is the UK's largest two-day gay pride festival.
The first Birmingham Gay Pride Weekend, 8-9 July 1972, featured dances, two "Gay Days" in Cannon Hill Park and a march up New Street from the Bull Ring. Two or three similar events were organised by Birmingham Gay Liberation Front until declining in the mid 1970s.
Annual gay festivals in Birmingham returned again in 1983 with the first "Five Days of Fun", originally known as "Gay Brum". Daytime and evening events would take place throughout the city's main gay bars and clubs in the village – culminating in an It's a Knockout competition between teams of the venues' staff, held in the garden/swimming pool at The Grosvenor House Hotel, Edgbaston.
So, where does Birmingham Pride stand today?
After announcing the 2020 theme to be 'Stronger Together' and the subsequent cancellation of the event due to the coronavirus pandemic, the theme has instead carried over to the 2021 event.
The theme stems from the Stonewall Riots, when a black, transgender woman, Marsha P Johnson, and Latino-American trans activist Sylvia Rivera threw the bricks which sparked into life the Riots and ignited the gay liberation movement, with gay, lesbian, bisexual, trans and other queer activists standing shoulder to shoulder in the face of oppression, bigotry and hatred.
Over 50 years later and 2019 has seen a reported 331 trans and gender diverse deaths this year alone and a move towards separation of the 'T' from 'LGBTQ' by some members of the community.
A third of trans people have been discriminated against because of their gender identity when visiting a cafe, bar or restaurant in the last year. Almost half of trans people don't feel comfortable using public toilets through fear of discrimination or harassment. More than two in five trans people avoid certain streets because they simply don't feel safe there as an LGBTQ person.
It’s extremely evident that the fight which was started by the Stonewall pioneers 50 years ago is far from won, with some of our community still homeless, still facing discrimination and still marginalised.
Birmingham Pride stands proudly in support of their trans family. The LGBTQ+ wider community has won many battles; achieved as one voice, as one movement. We achieve more when we are united. We are 'stronger together'.
Tickets for Birmingham Pride are available to purchase for the September event, here.