For the Season of Pride – Visit the Smaller Centres

From Montana, DG Smith writes:

New York Pride?

Check.

San Diego, Seattle, Vancouver, Chicago, Atlanta, Miami, San Francisco, Boston, Portland, Kansas City, Dallas, L.A., Denver, Philly?

Double check.

Bisbee, Anchorage, Bozeman, Wichita, Boise, Flagstaff?

Well, uh….

I know, not exactly the top of the list for most of you. Many of us actively fled rural life to get to urban safety. I get that- I was one of them. For a while, anyway. But I want you to consider going to a gay pride event in an out-of the-way place this summer.

Click for schedule!

Why? Because we need you.

LGBT people live in rural America. We work here, go to school, own property, pay taxes, raise families, attend churches, shop and donate to charity. We don’t have a lot of gay bars, LGBT sports clubs, drag shows and neighborhoods where we can hold hands with our partners. Nonetheless, we live here. We love here. We have friends and families here.

Sometimes we do it under a great deal of stress.

via From Eternity To Here.

For the UK, we could substitute London for New York, Brighton (of course), Manchester and Birmingham for the next rank.

And then?

How about Blackpool, Calderdale, Gloucester or Derby?

Bournemouth, Hull, or York?

Nottingham or Norwich, Swindon or Weston -Super -Mare?

Hull or Newcastle, Grimsby or Bangor?

Smith is right. Many of us find that joining gay pride is inspirational, a blast – but it’s a two way street. We get the benefit from being with all the others, who in turn benefit from our presence. What happens when “all the others” – just aren’t there? LGBT people in small towns, especially the young people just beginning to grapple with facing their identity, need affirmation and support even more than those in the big cities, where our community is just more visible. I live in a small town myself, where there simply is no LGBT community. There are plenty of gay and lesbian people, I’m certain – but in the five years I’ve been here, I’ve not seen a single indication of any specifically queer event, group or community service. We’re close enough to London that it’s not the problem it could be, but for towns further from the big centres, it’s different.

It’s also not just the LGBT people who benefit from visibility – it’s also the rest of the community, who need to be reminded that we exist, even in their midst.

The fight for LGBT Equality is not going to be won in the cities. It’s already mostly won there. It’s going to be won in small-town America, where people need to see gay people as human, normal and neighbors- not just some characters on television. It’s going to be won when the lady who runs the local Holiday Inn meets real-live lesbians and finds them to be just like any other guests. When the casual onlooker comes to the parade to see “freaks” and walks away disappointed, when he sees families and friends laughing and cheering. When a bi kid is accepted and loved instead of encouraged to “get off the fence”. When locals see their gay neighbors in the light of day, paying our own way, as deserving of love, respect and commitment as anyone else. When drag shows and AIDS charity events are just as normal and accepted as karaoke, rodeo and the county fair. When  our rural and small-town legislators, see us simply as citizens with the same rights as every other constituent. When kids don’t say “gay” as an epithet of scorn and derision.

When we are seen as part of a larger community. That’s when full equality will happen.

via From Eternity To Here.

Pride Calendar 2012, UK:

June 2012

Birmingham Gay Pride 2012 LGBT Community Village Green 02 Jun 2012

Sheffield Gay Pride 2012 Endcliffe Park, Ruskins Road, Sheffield 02 Jun 2012

Blackpool Gay Pride 2012 Blackpool 09 Jun 2012

BLAGSS Treasure Hunt Preston Park at 2 pm, near the Clocktower10 Jun 2012

Calderdale Pride 2012 The Halifax Piece hall 16 Jun 2012

Gloucestershire Gay Pride 2012 Gloucester Park 16 Jun 2012

Oxford Gay Pride 2012 Oxford 16 Jun 2012

July 2012

Derby Gay Pride 2012 Bass Recreation Ground, Derby 07 Jul 2012

World Pride London 2012 London 07 Jul 2012

Bristol’s Premier Gay Wedding Show The Council House, College Green, Bristol 08 Jul 2012

Bourne Free Pride Festival 2012 Bournemouth 14 Jul 2012

Bristol Gay Pride 2012 College Green, Bristol 14 Jul 2012

Glasgow Gay Pride 2012 Glasgow 14 Jul 2012

Hull Pride 2012 West Park Hull 21 Jul 2012

York Pride 2012 Rowntree Park, Terry Avenue, York 21 Jul 2012

Northern Pride 2012 Leazes Park Newcastle upon Tyne 21 Jul 2012

Southwest Gay Pride 2012 Beach Lawns, Weston Super Mare 21 Jul 2012

Nottingham Gay Pride 2012 Forest fields recreation ground 28 Jul 2012

Norwich Gay Pride 2012 Millenium Plane (outside the Forum) Norwich 28 Jul 2012

August 2012

Liverpool Gay Pride 2012 Pier Head, Liverpool 04 Aug 2012

Swindon Gay Pride 2012 Swindon 04 Aug 2012

Wakefield Pride 2012 Wakefield Yorkshire 12 Aug 2012

Manchester Gay Pride 2012 Manchester 17 Aug 2012

Cornwall Gay Pride 2012 Truro Cornwall 25 Aug 2012

September 2012

Brighton Gay Pride 2012 Brighton Madeira Drive / Preston Park 01 Sep 2012

Cardiff Mardi Gras 2012 Cardiff Coopers Field 01 Sep 2012

Grimsby Pride 2012 Meridian Park, Cleethorpes 01 Sep 2012

Leicester Gay Pride  2012 Victoria Park Leicester 01 Sep 2012

Reading Gay Pride 2012 Kings Meadow Park, Reading 08 Sep 2012

Sunderland Pride 2012 Civic Centre in Sunderland 23 Sep 2012

October 2012

Cymru PRIDE Wales Aber Road Bangor 05 Oct 2012

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