For the first time ever Totnes Town Council has raised the rainbow flag over the Civic Hall as a sign of solidarity and support for the LGBT+ community of Totnes and beyond.
During the ceremony, onlookers enjoyed a special performance by Totnes Community Choir Global Harmony and Totnes Women’s Choir VIVA.
Totnes Mayor, councillor Jacqi Hodgson, who spoke at the ceremony on Monday said: “As Mayor I am really proud of the wide mix of people in this wonderful town and delighted that we have come together today to celebrate the LGBT+ community and the Proud2Be group who have worked so very hard to raise awareness.
“I raise this flag in honour of all the people of Totnes who support and are proud of the diversity of this special and compassionate town.”
The historic event marks the towns third ever Pride event, which takes place this Saturday.
Totnes-based social enterprise Proud2Be Project, is laying on a whole host of events in the town, in what is now regarded as the UK’s largest rural Pride event.
The event received a high profile endorsement this week when former actor and Labour politician Michael Cashman CBE tweeted a message of support.
He said: “Proud that you are trailblazing again the third ever brilliant Pride event in Totnes in Devon. It’s going to be amazing!”
This year’s special guests will be activists CN Lester and Jacq Applebee.
CN said: “There’s a dangerous myth that LGBT+ people only exist in large cities, in gay districts – that we’re not a normal part of everyday life.
“The best Prides I’ve ever attended have been smaller Prides around the country that celebrate and support all members of the LGBT+ community, showing us in all our complexity, including us in the fabric of our wider communities.
“I’m absolutely thrilled to have been asked to participate in Totnes Pride – here’s to breaking down barriers and stereotypes together.”
Joining CN will be Jacq Applebee, the co-founder of Bi’s of Colour, as well as being an activist and a writer.
About her involvement, Jacq said “I am a firm believer of the importance of reaching LGBT+ people who are isolated, including those in rural areas. In the first bisexuals of colour survey and report, which I produced, isolation was one of the regular themes that resulted in participants not feeling part of their LGBT+ communities.
“Totnes Pride will be my first Devon LGBT+ event, but hope it won’t be my last!”
The day kicks off at 11am outside The Dartmouth Inn, where there will be opening speeches from CN, Jacq and Proud2Be founders Mat and Jon Price, who together with award winning Samba ROC Band and an 8ft willow peacock, will then lead a procession up Fore Street and High Street to Totnes Civic Hall at 11.30am.
Community bus service Bob the Bus, will be running a park and ride service from 10am at KEVICC and will also be transporting those with mobility issues up the procession at 11.15.
It is at the Civic Hall from midday, where visitors can enjoy, workshops and talks, a variety of community stands, Dot’s Cafe, a craft area, a family area, face painting, Loz’s clay room, an LGBT+ library and much more.
There will be a panel discussion at 1.15pm at The Barrel House Ballroom, where CN and Jacq will join local activists, to discuss the topic of gender.
The fun continues into the evening at Totnes Pride After Party from 7.30pm at The Royal Seven Stars Ballroom, which will feature live music from popular Disco Funk band Golddust, Rococo Chanel and DJ sets from Madame Souza and Rhi Rhi Rhythm.
Proud2Be Founders Jon and Mat Price said: “We are so excited about this year’s Pride; we have been working hard to ensure that Totnes Pride is a community event we can all be proud of. We are thrilled with the support we have received from the local community, in particular Totnes Town Council.
“For us Totnes Pride is a chance for the whole community to come together and celebrate diversity in our town and to also raise awareness about the issues still faced by the LGBT+ community, in the UK and around the world.”
Source: Herald Express