Southampton Pride continues with protest - it's not just a
celebration

Southampton Pride continues with protest – it's not just a celebration

Danny has lived in Southampton all his life, but it wasn’t until 2016 that he got involved with putting on a Pride festival here in the city.

“It was shortly after the mass shooting took place in the Pulse nightclub in Orlando and the community wanted to come together to show solidarity.”

The events of that night sent shockwaves through the LGBTQ+ community across the world as news spread that 49 people between the ages of 18 to 50 had been shot dead. In Southampton, and across Hampshire, rainbow flags were raised above buildings and candlelit vigils were held.

Danny adds: “To see so many people come together in a rallying cry for people to unite to stamp out prejudice and hate crime was really moving. But we also wanted to show the positives and how far our community has come.”

Just nine weeks later, Southampton had its first Pride festival.

“There were one or two Pride events over the years in the 70s and again in the 90s. But for the first time Southampton had a Pride event that would be back year on year.”

At the time Danny was working with Breakout Youth, a charity that supports LGBTQ+ youths.

Danny says: “Planning the first ever Southampton Pride is one of my greatest achievements; seeing the young people from the youth service waving their flags proudly had a profound impact on me and has made me continue as an activist.

“The event itself has changed a lot over these last eight years. It’s grown hugely. We had 5,000 people attend the first event and now we get more than 15,000 people.

“It’s great fun, but it’s also an important opportunity to educate and show people there is still more work to be done.

“Equality isn’t truly equal until everyone has the same rights. I’ve been with my husband for 30 years, and we entered into a civil partnership in 2005 and then got married in 2015, which they backdated to 2005. But for the trans community there’s still a long way to go.”

The Southampton Pride event takes place in the city centre on the weekend of August 24 and 25 and it’s free to attend. These are both important factors to Danny and his fellow organisers.

“We could have held the event away from the city centre, including the march, but its important to be visible. Pride is here for everyone and if there’s a family walking through the city centre and they’d like to find out more, then they would be more than welcome.

“The free community march is one of the event’s highlights. Pride has always been a protest, and we don’t ever want to forget that.”

For more information on Pride, visit: https://southamptonpride.org.

  • SO: Cultured is the Daily Echo’s regular feature in partnership with Southampton Forward.

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