Bursting with Pride
THOUSANDS of people donned feathers and sequins and waved rainbow flags to take part in what could be the only Pride parade in the British Isles this summer.
Travel restrictions did not seem to harm Saturday’s turnout, with several thousand joining in a parade from Candie Gardens to Market Square, which was followed by a party.
Liberate CEO and parade organiser Ellie Jones said it was the biggest Pride parade Guernsey had hosted, with some estimating more than 5,000 people were involved.
‘It was amazing,’ she said. ‘It was such a great day and such a positive day. I am not surprised it was so big. We were expecting a lot of people to come out. People seem to expect that we could go back into lockdown at any time, so people want to get out.’
Online there has been some criticism of the high-profile event, which takes place for one afternoon and evening in Guernsey every two years. But Ms Jones said it was so important that people are out and seen.
‘Pre-Liberate there really wasn’t a great deal of visibility for LGBT people and it really makes a difference to see other people like themselves,’ she said.
‘People then feel more comfortable to come and be themselves, especially among young people.’
She said it was wonderful to see so many people of different ages taking part in the parade.
‘People assume we have a small LGBT community, as we don’t have a bar that is open all the time or anything like that, but we do exist,’ she said.
‘We are 10% to 15% of the population and I think a lot of those turned out yesterday.’
She said Liberate was very grateful for all the support it had received, including from main sponsor the Channel Islands Co-op.
The parade was so long that it took about 10 minutes to pass. People of all ages and all sexual orientations took part.
Among the well-known faces was Director of Public Health Dr Nicola Brink. She said it was wonderful that the event was able to take place with no restrictions.
‘Seeing everyone together is fantastic and it really is because our community worked so hard and we are now in a position to have everyone together like this,’ she said.
The pandemic has already caused mass parades in the UK to be cancelled this summer, making Guernsey’s event all the more special.
While there were many people who were gay and lesbian, there were many more types of sexuality among paraders, including transsexuals and asexuals.
Darren Alderton, 32, donned rainbow wings for the parade. He said he often tells people he is gay, because they do not understand when he says he is sapiosexual. That means he is attracted to another person because of their intellect.
‘There are so many more flags than just the rainbow one,’ he said.
Mr Alderton said the visibility of the event was so important, especially at a time when the States has been discussing anti-discrimination legislation, with that based on sexual orientation pushed back until 2026.
‘This is a great chance for people to see the number of people that decision affects,’ he said.
Many election candidates turned out and Mr Alderton said it was good to see so many LGBT candidates in the upcoming election.