I had the honour for many years of being the principal organiser of Wakefield Pride before handing over the running of the event to others. I organised the first Pride in Wakefield assisted by the Events and Cohesion teams of the council.
In some ways Wakefield was the vanguard of the prides that take place in West Yorkshire, Leeds for example adopted the Wakefield pride constitution and method of working with the council and Lincoln have also taken up the cause.
Wakefield Pride was and as far as I am aware still is, the only pride committee to have received royal recognition when it was awarded the Duke of York’s Community Initiative Award for 2007. It was unprecedented for an organisation so young (it was two years old) to be awarded the title and again unprecedented for a gay organisation to be so recognised.
It has taken more than a lifetime to get to the state of equality that exists for UK residents and many of the younger generation are appalled by the state of affairs that exist for LGBT people in Russia and have mentioned more than once that they cannot imagine it being like that over here.
There are some of us that can remember a time when it was like that and although there are still some tragic incidents of abuse towards us, LGBT people by and large no longer feel marginalised and excluded from society.
It is with this background, and mindful that a number of councillors including the Mayor and the Deputy leader will be attending this years Pride in Southgate, that I would urge Wakefield Council to stand up and be counted and send a message of support to the LGBT people of Belgorod our twin town in Russia and a message to the Russian government condemning the persecution of another minority.
Belle Vue Road