LGBTQ+ History Month - York Pride!
Pride Marches and festivals take place all over the UK usually during summer meaning we get to see crowds of happy people and rainbow flags in the glorious sunshine. If you don’t know what Pride is, it’s promotion of self-affirmation, dignity, equality, and increased visibility of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people usually in the form of festivals and marches. Different countries around the world celebrate their Pride at times to mark significant events in their progress for LGBTQ rights. In the UK and the USA Pride is celebrated over the months of June and July as that is when the Stonewall riots occurred in 1969 which for many is the foundation of the modern gay rights movement in both countries.
For many of you reading, the closest Pride celebrations will be in the city of York, so continue reading to hear more about how York celebrates Pride and it’s LGBTQ History.
Pride is York is a big event. Normally people of all ages get involved as well as different organisations and businesses to make it an inclusive, popular and great event. I attended the York Pride just to watch the march go by, as it starts at the famous minster, goes through the city and over to the racecourse where a festival is held. It was a great atmosphere to see so many people come out to support the people marching and show that York is a city for everyone. It’s also great to read the many signs that people carry as they march and to talk to people or join in the singing as they march past. When the march first started I was just waving a rainbow flag, by the end I was covered in rainbow stickers, glitter and other items that were handed out by the marchers. It’s hard not to feel welcome. Once we’re back to a more normal routine, I would highly recommend searching out your nearest Pride event and get involved either directly or just through your support. Or check out the https://yorkpride.org.uk/ website to have a look at the plans for future years!
York and LGBTQ History
The city of York is mainly remembered in history as an important centre in Medieval England and not having the most diverse of backgrounds. However, there are highlights that can be seen and the city celebrates those wholeheartedly. Anne Lister the famous lesbian and diarist from the 19th century is said to have sealed her union with her partner Ann Walker in Holy Trinity Church as same-sex marriages were not allowed in the UK at the time. To celebrate this a blue plaque was placed in 2018 at the church and the newest college at the University of York has been named after her. Next time you visit the city, see if you can find the plaque!
Inside the Castle Museum is a recreation of a Victorian street and to celebrate the city’s LGBTQ+ history, the street’s pub was transformed into an exhibition titled: York Out of the Closet. Visitors were able to read about the first ever gay rights protestors and much more in this event to mark 50 years since the decriminalisation of sex between men. It was a fantastic display to show the often hidden side of York’s history.
There’s much more LGBTQ+ history in York to uncover as well as more probably closer to home than you think. For this year’s LGBTQ+ History month, challenge yourself to look for those forgotten histories and share them with friends, family and others.
Thank you for taking the time to read all our blogs for LGBTQ+ History Month. We hope you have enjoyed reading just a small amount of all that encompasses the past. While this month marks the nation’s time to reflect on LGBTQ+ history, remember that you can do it all year round because LGBTQ+ history is all of our history. See you next year and Happy Pride!
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