Thousands of LGBT+ people, their friends and allies attend Eastbourne’s first LGBT+ Mardi Gras on Saturday, July 22.
Eastbourne certainly came out in large numbers to support the towns first celebration of LGBT+ folk. Rain held off long enough for the parade to pass and main stage speeches to be made by chair of the organising committee, Betty Gallacher, Human Rights Campaigner Peter Tatchell who said: “The message of Pride was to celebrate the contribution that LGBT+ people make to the Eastbourne community” and for tribute act ABBA Magic to get the crowd on their feet and dancing.
The Mayor of Eastbourne, Cllr Pat Hearn was in attendance and led the parade in an open top car from Langney Point along the seafront through Fort Fun car park to Victoria Park.
This was an LGBT+ event of the old skool. It was free, there were no licensed bars on the park (but you could take you own alcohol on with you) and everyone who came was determined to have a great time with many bringing picnics and chairs to the park with them.
The crowd was very mixed with lots of children and families, the dance tent was full all day and the stalls in the community village appeared to do good business. Such a shame it rained later in the day.
It was great to see support from some Brighton organisations on the parade including Brighton Gay Men’s Chorus, MindOut and Brighton and Hove Bus Company as well as representation from some national unions and I spotted many Brighton faces among the crowds.
Only slight disappointment was the route taken by the parade. It was hidden away on a part of the seafront that was not very busy. The purpose of a Pride parade is to raise LGBT+ awareness and that can only be done by taking it through the centre of the town. Something for the organisers to aspire to next year.
The event was organised by LGBT+ support group Bourne Out.