South Shields saw what was thought to be the borough’s first Pride event take place at Industry nightclub in Ocean Road earlier this year, where organiser Natalie Lascelles runs the popular Rush party nights dedicated to gay women and their friends.
Now council chiefs have unveiled plans for an official South Tyneside Pride event in June 2023.
South Tyneside Council said work is ‘underway behind the scenes as the council supports South Tyneside’s LGBTQ+ community to work towards a Pride event in June 2023’.
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Bosses revealed the ambition as The Progress Pride Flag was hosted above South Shields Town Hall to mark Pride Day on June 28.
A working group has already been set up involving a range of organisations to collaborate on an event.
Councillor Tracey Dixon, Leader of South Tyneside Council, said local communities will also be encouraged to get involved at the time, with anything from dressing their premises in pride colours to holding their own pride events and activities.
“It’s only right that we support, embrace and celebrate our unique and diverse local communities and we are already working with our LGBTQ+ community to develop an event in South Tyneside next year,” she said.
“The 2023 Pride event will provide a platform for our local community to make a powerful statement that promotes and celebrates a culture of acceptance, inclusivity and encouragement.”
Cllr Dixon said more information about the 2023 event will be made available in due course as plans develop.
She added: “We are always supportive of our LGBTQ+ community and extremely proud to fly the flag on Pride Day.
“Pride is about promoting inclusivity and encouraging everyone to be proud of who they are. It reminds us that people should be free to love who they want and feel they can express themselves in safety, without fear of reprisal.
“While changes in attitudes, behaviour and legislation have made real strides over the years, the LGBTQ+ community still face discrimination and we want to help change that. We are committed to making a better future for all our residents and we continue to embrace equality and diversity in all of our policies and practices.”
Pride is celebrated during June because it was the month of the Stonewall riots in 1969 – the protests that changed gay rights for many people worldwide.
Pride Day is 28 June, marking the date in history when the first pride march was held in New York City in 1970. However, different communities celebrate Pride on different days and months.
This year also marks 50 years since the first Pride march in the UK, in London’s Trafalgar Square.
The Progress Pride Flag, one of which was hoisted over South Shields Town Hall, was developed in 2018 by non-binary American artist and designer Daniel Quasar, based on the iconic rainbow flag from 1978, aiming to celebrate the diversity of the LGBTQ+ community and calling for a more inclusive society.