Today’s blog comes from my Cabinet lead for Women, Children and Families, Helen Godwin, on her time at Bristol Pride.
Photos: Wayne Godwin Reid
July is Pride month, and I was thrilled to have celebrated its 10th Anniversary march through the city and then up to the Downs with a much-anticipated festival on Saturday 13 July.
By raising a flag on College Green last month, Bristol’s residents commemorated the 50th Anniversary of the Stonewall Riots of 1969 – a series of events that are often recognised as the birth of the LGBT+ liberation movement, as well as Pride. Pride is a positive stance against discrimination and violence toward lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people. This year, every year and across the world, Pride is celebrated by the LGBT+ community and beyond to showcase, celebrate and embrace the dynamic and diverse LGBT+ community. I am thrilled that on Bristol Pride Day, I felt just how strong these community networks are.
Walking through the city on Saturday morning with my daughter, friends and family, I felt the love all around. In such difficult and divisive times, it was refreshing and enriching to feel positivity and celebration from people on the parade and spectators. Whistles, flags, drums and smiles all encased in a giant rainbow – could we have asked for more?
I saw several older people on the march and couldn’t help but imagine the joy that they must feel seeing how far the fight for equality has come. But of course, there is much to do. Up on the Downs the wonderful Aled Osborne was masterfully curating the Cabaret Stage. He reminded us in an impassioned speech that black transgender women had been amongst the first to give gay people a safe space to be and to love. We must keep fighting, keep protesting and keep going until we truly have equality for all.
Taking Pride in our city is really important for our administration. As Cabinet lead for Women, Children and Families, I see how Bristol’s diversity positively impacts our children. This March, we organised events during LGBT Adoption and Fostering Week and asked members of the community to consider if they could provide loving, stable homes for children in care. Approximately 10% of adopters in Bristol identify as LGBT, but only 2% of our foster carers do. So we want to get the message out that fostering can also be a long term option and way of creating a stable family life. I encourage anyone of the LGBTQ+ community who is willing to provide a loving home for a child in care to find out more here.
Bristol has come a long way, along with the rest of the UK since the 1969 Stonewall Riots. Love is love, and this message was clear throughout Pride. I thank the fantastic team behind Bristol Pride for bringing so much love and joy to our city and creating a beautiful space for all of us to celebrate our LGBTQ+ community. We will always stand with you. Here’s to Pride 2020.