Over the past two weeks in Bristol, we have seen two incidents against the LGBTQIA+ community. These disappointing and disturbing acts are completely unacceptable.
It can sometimes be hard to feel positive in the face of such incidents. Events like these should serve as a reminder to us allies that we must continue to actively support the LGBTQIA+ community. We cannot lose sight of the strong community of support that exists across the city, with allies in all communities, which this weekend will clearly demonstrate. It is important to celebrate the milestones reached while facing up to the progress there still is to make.
Pride began as a protest and the LGBTQIA+ community still face discrimination and prejudice, hatred and violence.
In this current climate it feels even more than before important that we show solidarity and continue to keep building a city where everyone is safe and welcome. Putting the LGBTQIA+ community front and centre of Bristol this weekend is incredibly important, and I support Stonewall’s 2023 Pride message:
“Let’s get the UK back on track for LGBTQ+ rights.”
Why is Pride important to Bristol?
From the 2021 Census we know that Bristol is considerably more diverse in sexual orientation and gender identity than the South West of England and nationally:
- 15th highest LGBTQIA+ population ages 16 years and over
- second highest number of bisexual people (by local authority)
- second highest ‘queer’ population (by local authority)
- third highest amount of pansexual people (by local authority)
- fourth highest amount of asexual population (by local authority)
- Second largest non-binary population (out of 331 local authorities)
- 3,220 citizens across the city said their gender identity was different from their sex registered at birth (about 1 in 120)
We want to make sure our commitment to making Bristol a safe city for LGBTQIA+ people is visible. From lighting up City Hall, to raising the Pride inclusion flag, to the wonderful rainbow crossing on Wine Street. But, as important as these visible symbols are, we also want to deliver real action. As a local authority, we’re continuing to put equality and inclusion at the heart of everything we do. We want our LGBTQIA+ staff lead group to continue to have a meaningful voice along with Bristol City Council’s staff Equality and Inclusion Champions.
If you are attending Pride day this Saturday then you will be able to speak to colleagues from our Museums and Fostering services, along with members of the council’s LGBTQIA+ Staff Lead Group, and our Housing Development organisation, Goram Homes.
If you’re not subscribed to the council’s weekly newsletter then you can read the Pride special edition online, to find out more about how Bristol City Council are supporting Pride and LGBTQIA+ residents across the city.
I’m proud to represent a city that does not simply tolerate each other but embraces one another with respect and dignity.
Finally, I’ll leave you with this: here in Bristol you’re always free to be whoever you want to be. You deserve respect, empathy, and dignity. I will continue to stand the LGBTQIA+ community and be part of the progress we need to make.
Enjoy pride day this weekend. Be safe and look out for each other.