Mary was one of the local leaders asked to speak at the opening of Durham Pride 2021 on Saturday 31st June.
Pride is an annual event that celebrates diversity and inclusion in the LGBT community. However, as Mary mentioned in her speech, it is also a time of protest.
It’s important to remember that Pride is as much about protest as it is celebration. Over decades, Pride events have been dedicated to fighting for some of the fundamental improvements and rights that LGBT people have today, from huge legal strides like equal marriage to simply being able to live openly and freely.
Mary has been working closely with the organisers of Pride, meeting with Mel at Framwellgate School just over a month ago. This meeting sought to discuss the issues facing young LGBT people in County Durham and was an opportunity for some of the young people to offer to volunteer for the next Pride event in 2022. Mary’s speech focused on the impact that protest and campaigning has had on the history of LGBT rights in the country.
Following my recent visit to Framwellgate Moor School with Mel to speak to LGBT students, I reflected on the fact that within my adult life this just wouldn’t have been possible under Section 28 and how this legislation was only abolished after tireless campaigning by LGBT activists and allies. It’s honestly so inspiring to be able to see real change like this in society and it’s a testament to what campaigners like you have achieved and the difference you can make.
And this is why Pride is important, because not only does it promote acceptance and celebrate LGBT cultures, it also drives change across society. Whether this change is achieved in months, years, or decades, it often begins with Pride.
Politicians should never be satisfied with how far we have come, but listen to communities and join them in their campaigns for even more change and more improvements in people’s lives.
Join in their campaigns and celebrations is just what Mary did. Joining up with the CLP, Mary drew their raffle which raised funds for Pride and saw a fabulous cake baked by a local Labour member won by an engaged couple. What a fitting result!
The solidarity that was on display was certainly fantastic to see and Mary will be continuing to advocate for the LGBT community in City of Durham.