Shropshire Council joins Shrewsbury Pride celebrations
Shropshire Council is joining in with organisers to celebrate the very first Shrewsbury Pride festival, which takes place this coming weekend, Friday 29 September to Sunday 1 October 2023.
To mark the event; the Rainbow Flag will be raised at Shirehall at midday on Friday, and fly for the whole weekend.
The weekend follows months of planning, building on LGBT+ History Month in February and Pride Month in June, when Ludlow Pride took place and various events were held in Shrewsbury. It forms part of ongoing activity not only in Shrewsbury but also across the county to raise the visibility of and engage with the LGBTQ+ community in Shropshire.
Cecilia Motley, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member for adult social care, public health and communities, said:-
“I would like to congratulate the organisers of the very first Shrewsbury Pride ahead of what I am sure will be a wonderful celebratory weekend.
“I would also like to take this opportunity to encourage people who may not be aware of the range of ongoing local activities to have a look and see if they would like to join in. In the meantime, well done again to everyone involved.”
Lezley Picton, Leader of the Council, said:-
“It is an absolute pleasure to see Shrewsbury celebrating the diversity of the LGBTQ+ community in this way. The council is delighted to fly the Rainbow Flag in honour of this occasion.”
Ongoing events include monthly LGBTQ+ family activity sessions at Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery – which also runs exhibitions and events that mark historical and contemporary members of the LGBTQ+ community.
Additionally, the Wave Exhibition, featuring photographic portraits of older members of the LGBTQ+ community waving at the camera, will run on the gallery at Theatre Severn in Shrewsbury until mid-October. The exhibition aims to raise awareness of older members of the community and the issues that they face. It was co-produced with SAND (Safer Ageing No Discrimination).
Activities and events
Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery
- The museum hosts a monthly LGBTQ+ Family workshop.
- During the session members of the community and their families are able to take part in art related family activities and share time together.
- The museum runs exhibitions and events that mark historical and contemporary members of the LGBTQ+ community including A Spotlight Film, Emperor Hadrian – Love Loss and the boy made God, a film made by the museum team that explores LGBTQ+ issues during the Roman period https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kqvSJe_uV1w ,Samuel Butler – Outing The Past, and an exhibition that was co-produced with a local LGBTQ groups in 2019.
- It recently hosted the Wave Exhibition, that features photographic portraits of older members of the LGBTQ+ community waving at the camera. The exhibition aimed to raise awareness of older members of the community and the issues that they face. It was co-produced with SAND (Safer Ageing No Discrimination).
- LGBTQ+ interest books are available at all Shropshire libraries. These are available on the shelves or available on request from smaller branches.
- There is a dedicated LGBTQ+ interest section on the Library Service’s free e-book system.
- LGBTQ+ emagazines are available via Pressreader. UK e-magazines currently available are Gay Times, HISKIND and Pride Life Magazine, as well as other international publications.
- All Shropshire Council libraries are Safe Spaces for all.
- Library staff are currently in the process of redrafting the stock policy which will include a section on equalities to ensure that our stock represents issues around gender and sexuality.
- Ludlow Gaymers run weekly events at Ludlow Library. Events are for members of the LGBTQ+ community aged 16 and above who meet to play designer board games and get to know others within the community .
- During Pride Month in June libraries worked with SAND (Safe Aging No Discrimination) displaying information in all branches and running community outreach sessions in larger branches.
Theatre Severn, Shrewsbury
- The Wave Exhibition features photographic portraits of older members of the LGBTQ+ community waving at the camera will run at Theatre Severn Gallery until mid-October. The exhibition aims to raise awareness of older members of the community and the issues that they face. It was co-produced with SAND (Safer Ageing No Discrimination).
The Old Market Hall, Shrewsbury
- Throughout October The Old Market Hall will be screening LGBTQ+ interest films. Details of the programme can be found at What’s On (oldmarkethall.co.uk), and it includes:-
Sun 1 Oct, 7pm: Blue Jean – https://www.oldmarkethall.co.uk/shows/whatson/blue-jean-15
Sun 8 Oct, 7pm: Egghead & Twinkie – https://www.oldmarkethall.co.uk/shows/whatson/egghead-twinkie
June is Pride Month, and is a month-long global celebration. The reason it is celebrated in the month of June is because this was the month in 1969 when the Stonewall riots took place in America and changed gay rights for a lot of people around the world. The month is usually celebrated with parades and marches, with people coming together in love and friendship.
The name for Pride Month was first coined by L Craig Schoonmaker in 1970. In 1978, the rainbow flag was created by American artist and gay rights activist Gilbert Baker. It was first displayed on 25 June 1978, for the San Francisco Gay Freedom Parade. It was not until 1994 that the rainbow flag was truly established as the symbol for LGBT+ pride. That year, Baker made a mile-long version for the 25th anniversary of the Stonewall riots. Now the rainbow flag is an international symbol for pride and can be seen flying proudly, during both the promising times and the difficult ones, all around the world.
Shropshire Council staff have a choice of Teams backgrounds with which to also fly the Rainbow Flag from their own virtual workspaces.