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With a new campaign created online, there is hope for a yearly gay Pride event in Southampton city. Uganda marched this summer- so should we!
Following Brighton & Hove’s successful Pride event at the weekend, an online petition has been created with the intention to organise a similar event in our city. Over 60 miles away, Brighton Pride was a sore reminder of the lack of LGBT celebrations here in Southampton. With over 40,000 students in the city alone, a regular Pride event would have the potential to attract a large number of attendees from its two universities, as well as nearby Bournemouth and Portsmouth residents.
This summer saw progress of gay rights in many corners of the world, including extremely brave LGBT supporters risking the death penalty to march for the first time in Uganda – a country where homosexuality remains illegal. Yet despite demand, Southampton still hasn’t secured a yearly Pride event. A week of events was staged back in July 2005 but, to the disappointment of the LGBT community, they were discontinued.
The Wessex Scene interviewed the creator of this new online petition, Chrisie Edkins, a transsexual signer and Voice FM radio DJ who has been touring Pride events for free worldwide. She said the reason the 2005 event did not continue was that: “it was a bit of a flop.” Signed to Play Records, she has been drumming up interest in the potentiality of an improved and regular Pride event, and has already been in contact with nightclubs The Edge and Isobar, who are both interested.
Her intention with the petition is: “To get people’s responses…I’m in contact with the local council and venues to get together a committee.” But why Southampton? “I am born and bred in Southampton, it’s my hometown. We have a great LGBT community and lots of people within the LGBT bracket and I feel Southampton is lacking a big event to celebrate diversity.”
She anticipates a parade through the city centre up to the common, where the event would have space for a live music stage.
The event would not only be supported by two resident LGBT societies, but would equally be an opportunity to bring together Southampton’s community; bridging the gap between local residents and students whilst celebrating an important cause. To show your support, sign the petition.