Content Creator Chimwemwe headed out to Cumbria Pride over the weekend, and chatted with event-goers to talk about what pride means to them, and the importance of having pride return to Cumbria after the pandemic.
People gathered from across the county and beyond on the historical grounds of Carlisle Castle to celebrate Pride. The sunshine graced the city glistening upon crowds adorned in glitter, flags, and clothes that express their identity.
For some Pride goers like Abi Price, 17, of Carlisle, it's a safe space for them to express their identity without fear and enjoy what it means to be queer, and reflect on the progression of LGBT+ history.
For others like Julie, 42, of Carlisle it was a chance to educate herself on how to better help her trans son with the issues he faces:
“As a parent you want to protect your kids and make sure you are doing the best you can by them, that’s why I am here today so I know how to better support him.”
Julie, like many allies attending pride, could find useful information and support with over 20+ organisations at hand that raise awareness of issues the LGBT+ community face and provide community support.
The LGBT Foundation found last year that COVID19 disproportionately affected the LGBT+ community due to social issues such as; social isolation, domestic abuse, trans and non-binary health, mental health, and substance misuse.
In the stalls, there were the likes of DePaul, a youth homelessness charity. CADAS, Cumbria’s drug and alcohol advisor service and Always Another Way, a community not-for-profit that supports young LGBT+ people through their colour coded project.
The organisational manager of Always Another Way, Andrea Sales explained what impact the pandemic had on their service:
“Although we were able to stay open as a low-level mental health charity we had to stop taking referrals.”
Andrea described how many young people that access her service were getting to crisis point with waiting lists for mental health support from CAMHS lengthening and for the trans community waiting times for gender identity clinics being completely frozen.
Thanks to not only just Always Another Way but to all the organisations that support the LGBT+ community with the issues they face many people would have had nowhere left to turn and the actions of these local organisations that have helped support those in need the most.
Jane-Ann Clarke the chair of Carlisle Pride shared how pride means a lot more to her than in the past:
“This year we’ve managed to go ahead when a lot of other prides have had to be cancelled, were really pleased to be able to hold a safe LGBTQAI event.”
Cumbria Pride 2021 was a celebration like no other, with performances from local and international talent like Cascada and a place, in the words of Rosa North, 16, of Carlisle:
“A place where you have a second family, somewhere you can be yourself and meet people like you.”
You can find more information about the next Cumbria Pride here.