“O n Saturday Exeter came together to celebrate the lesbian, gay and transgender community at Pride 2017. Rainbow flags and flowers took over the high street to celebrate and raise awareness of inclusivity in the LGBTQAI+ community in the local area. The brightly-coloured parade curled around Exeter High Street including a pair of fifty metre rainbow flags held by members of the LGBTQAI+ community and many support groups as well as Police, Firefighters and the ever-popular Street Heat samba band and Dogs Trust.
Lining up amongst the citizens of Exeter, adorned with multi-coloured hairbands and flower necklaces, you can really appreciate how far the acceptance of queer rights has come in the last few decades. As the procession begins, the crowd starts to get excited; children wearing stickers and waving flags whilst the adults take in the sights and sounds of diversity, smiling and bobbing along to the music (far too British to join in…)
Lining up amongst the citizens of Exeter, adorned with multi-coloured hairbands and flower necklaces, you can really appreciate how far the acceptance of queer rights has come
One woman turned to me and smiled, saying “it’s nice that they have their moment”. That for me is the importance of Pride; changing perceptions on a small but important and proud community. Making the gay community visible – reminding people that no matter your gender identification or sexual orientation you have rights – including the right to have a great time. Pride gives this community the chance to come together and encourage more people to be comfortable showing they are LGBTQAI+ with the support of the local community.
The University has also celebrated Pride this year, with the rainbow banner bringing a little sunshine onto campus during exam season, our own Pride on Campus event and the University’s LQBTQ+ Society joining the parade on Saturday. I even made it into the parade myself; joining a friend amongst the thousands marching and waving flags. Entering the Pride Marketplace in Northernhay Gardens with a group of people I had never met before and signing the YMCA, I couldn’t help thinking that there was some good in the world.