Reading Pride 2021
On Saturday 4th September, I had the pleasure of attending Reading Pride and supporting the presence of a Labour Party stall at the event. After Pride events across the UK were cancelled in 2020 in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, it was heartening to see that the hard work and dedication of organisers and volunteers ensured that the 17th Reading Pride was able to go ahead with a theme of ‘Love Unites’.
I was just one of around 10,000 people to descend on King’s Meadow for an afternoon of live music, food, and entertainment. It was great to see so many different local organisations and businesses represented, supporting the LGBT+ community. It would seem that Pride events are second only to university Freshers’ Fairs when it comes to picking up stickers, badges, flags, and lots of other free goodies!
The Labour Party stall was ably organised and set up by the Reading and District Labour Party and it was a wonderful experience to be able to engage with members of the general public and the LGBT+ community again, in a safe environment, after so many months of isolation and distance.
Many attendees shared their concerns over delays to government plans to ban the abhorrent practice of conversion therapy, despite an LGBT Action Plan being launched in 2018. These fears have been compounded by the government disbanding its LGBT Advisory Panel, following a series of resignations in protest over delays to legislation. This has contributed to a growing sense that the government is ‘dragging its feet’ and failing to act promptly to protect vulnerable people at risk of harm.
Nevertheless, Reading Pride was very enjoyable, and it was a wonderful opportunity to share Labour’s values on fighting for equal rights. I am looking forward to taking part in Pride events in 2022, as well as sharing relevant news and campaigns throughout the year.