The Historic Market Town of Totnes in rural Devon, saw its sixth Pride event at the weekend, which brought the lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, intersex and/or asexual+ (LGBTQIA+) community together with their allies, to celebrate diversity in the town.
Organisers of the popular event, Totnes-based social enterprise Proud2Be, laid on a whole host of events in the town.
The day began with speeches from Totnes’ Mayor Cllr Judy Westacott MBE, Proud2Be founders Jae & Max Price and trans campaigners Fox and Owl.
During their moving speech, Fox and Owl said: “Totnes really is such a vibrant and forward-thinking town with so much going for it, rich in history, artists, musicians and spirituality. And although Totnes is an oasis of creativity, it’s a clear indication of change to see local pride events like Totnes Pride happening. We particularly love these types of local events as they still have the heart and soul that many city Prides have lost due to commercialsation and big companies taking over the parade and park events”
Speeches were followed by a minute’s silence “for all those people who are no longer with us and those who, for whatever reason, cannot be with us today.”
It is estimated that around one thousand people took part in the colourful procession, which was led by a ten-foot tall phoenix puppet, the result of a collaboration between Proud2Be and local charity ROC Creative, a dedicated art project which supports adults with learning disabilities.
During the day, one attendee tweeted “The choir and speakers at @totnespride gave me what the kids call “all the feels”. Then ended up carrying a giant butterfly wing. Covered in glitter. Standard. #Pride.”
This year’s special guests were Human Rights Activist, Feminist and founder of African Rainbow Family Aderonke Apata, Film makers (My Genderation) and trans campaigners Fox and Owl and Asexual activist Thom Winter-Gray.
About this year’s event Thom Said: “Had a fantastic day at Totnes Pride today, possibly the most open-minded and welcoming pride I’ve experienced yet.”
It was at Totnes Civic Hall that attendees enjoyed a whole host of activities including workshops and talks, community stands, Dot’s Cafe, a youth space, slime making and a variety of family-friendly activities including art and craft, face painting and much more.
Proud2Be co-founder Jae said: “We are thrilled with the wonderful feedback we have received so far about this year’s Totnes Pride, with many attendees telling us how inclusive and welcoming they found the event to be. The procession was bigger than ever, and we welcomed over 1000 people into the Civic Hall during the afternoon.”
Throughout the day, the rainbow flag could be seen flying above the Civic Hall after a moving ceremony at the beginning of the week to launch the event.
The afternoon saw a panel discussion at Pie Street, where Fox and Owl, Aderonke Apata and Thom Winter-Gray had an interactive discussion about the increased commercialisation of Pride events.
The day event was followed by an after-party, held at Totnes Civic Hall. Compered by The Ambiguous A, partygoers enjoyed performances from local Disco Funk band GoldDust and DJ sets from Madame Souza, Rhi Rhi Rhythm & Mamma Boogie Oogie.
Proud2Be co-founder Max said: “A small team of dedicated volunteers work tirelessly throughout the year to ensure Totnes Pride remains a thoughtful and exciting community event, that we can all enjoy. We would like to thank them and all the Pride volunteers, funders, sponsors, supporters, guests, attendees and performers- without whom, none of it would be possible.”
To find out more about Proud2Be and to get involved in future events please email email@example.com or go to proud2be.co.uk.