Ben Bradshaw, the Labour MP for Exeter, backs Exeter Pride in its bid to host UK Pride 2018.
Exeter Pride committee, the group which organises the annual celebration of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT+) communities in the county of Devon, is one of six Pride organisations bidding to stage UK Pride 2018.
UK Pride is the national equivalent of EuroPride and WorldPride and is licensed by the UK Pride Organisers Network (UKPON).
All organisers of Pride events in the UK are entitled to be members of UKPON, and each Pride organisation will have one vote at the annual Conference which takes place in Blackpool from October 20-22, 2017.
Mr Bradshaw, said: “I would like to add my full and wholehearted support to the bid by Exeter Pride to host next year’s UK Pride event.
“Exeter Pride will be celebrating its 10th anniversary next year and it has grown enormously over that time and is now one of, if not the biggest, annual public events in Exeter.
“It would send out a very positive message for UK Pride to take place in one of our smaller provincial cities that LGBTQIA+ people live everywhere.
“It would also mean a great deal to me, having been Britain’s first MP elected as an openly gay man, having fought successfully against a bitterly homophobic campaign in Exeter in 1997.”
Co-Chair of UKPON, Andy Train, who is also Vice-Chair of Pride in Hull, said: “At Pride in Hull we were delighted to have the honour of hosting the first UK Pride earlier this year, and it’s a tribute to the impact it had on our Pride to see six Prides bidding for next year’s event. The Pride movement is growing across the UK and we had more than 20 brand new Prides this year.
“UK Pride helps to create a focal point for one Pride each year, to help increase visibility and awareness.
“UK Pride status is a unique opportunity and uplift for any Pride. I wish all six Prides all the very best of luck, and I can’t wait to see their bids.”
Adam Rank, Chair of Exeter Pride, added: “Exeter Pride hopes that winning UK Pride will help us to increase LGBT+ visibility not just on one day but all year.
“Next year, 2018, is our 10th anniversary year and the perfect time to consider how far we have come both as a movement and a city.
“We work closely with cultural partners and local businesses, and hope that becoming UK Pride will help us not only to celebrate diversity but also to honour the city that we are so proud of!”
The Ninth Exeter Pride held on May 13 included a colourful rainbow flag march featuring thousands of people, community groups, statutory organisations, trade unions, LGBT+ groups and individuals. Joss Stone headlined the main stage and speeches were given by Lord Mayor of Exeter, Cllr. Cynthia Thompson and the local MP for Exeter, Ben Bradshaw MP.
Alan Quick, trustee of Exeter Pride, said: “Exciting plans are being made for the 10th anniversary Exeter Pride on Saturday, May 12, 2018, further details of which are to be announced in the near future.
“Exeter Pride is now firmly an annual community event in the city’s calendar. It has built on the hard work of so many volunteers who helped organise the event in previous year’s, and is still run by volunteers which helps it retain its grass-roots community event feel.
“Every year Exeter Pride supports not only the city but the wider rural population.
“It is really successful at encouraging greater diversity and inclusion and a future aim is to give greater visibility to the region’s LGBT+ communities.
“Exeter Pride is now welcoming approaches from those who would like to get involved as volunteers, have a stall, audition to perform or be a partner or sponsor.
Groups or organisations wanting to take part in the march should email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
At the UKPON conference in Blackpool, each Pride will have just 15 minutes to present their bid, and all are being invited to publish their bids online so that people can view them in advance.
The winning Pride will be announced on Sunday, October 22, and will be live streamed on Facebook.