Is Bristol Pride just a party or a celebration of progress in the LGBT+ community?
With LGBT+ hate crime per capita rising by 144% between 2013-14 and 2017-18, it is evident that negative attitudes towards the LGBT+ community are still rife in the UK.
This statistic comes out after a recent homophobic driven attack on two women on a London bus. In light of this news and statistic, it is encouraging to see organisations in the South West such as the Bristol Hate Crime Services providing support services for victims of hate crime in Bristol.
Pride celebrating its 10th anniversary in Bristol earlier this month (Saturday 13th July), therefore we thought it would be better to take the time at Tusko to reflect on the positive impact that the LGBT+ community and event has had on us and for the city of Bristol.
More than 45,000 people attended Bristol Pride Day this year and several shops and businesses across the city were decorated with rainbow flags and signs to show support. With many businesses getting on board and supporting the community, pride was in full force across the city, including the official event on The Downs hosted by Bristol Pride, parades throughout the city and various day and after parties celebrating the achievements of the LGBT+ community.
With this year being the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots in New York, which led to groundbreaking changes in organised LGBT+ rights activism, the atmosphere in Bristol felt particularly electric. With a record number attending this year's event, it felt that there was a clear and overall awareness of the love, struggle and change that the community has faced over the years. However, there has also been increasing debate within the LGBT+ community on the future of Pride parades themselves. Some argue it is a necessary event to champion progression, while others believe it has become a means for companies to capitalise on. Pride has always and will always attract some form of criticism but this criticism will be of varying validity, and mostly ignored by attendees.
It is fantastic to see the work that Bristol Pride put in for Pride Day, but it is important to mention the work the organisation does to promote and celebrate the LGBT+ community across the year, highlighting the fact that they are not just here for July and gone again. Projects include events such as LGBT+ History Month, Trans Awareness, World AIDS Days and also talks in local schools, within businesses or other organisations and charities in the city. It is great to see the Bristol community rising up and celebrating diversity in the face of growing hate crime towards the LGBT+ community.
At last years Pride, Tusko Films and Bristol24/7 shared Talking LGBT+ Bristol – a Heritage Lottery funded documentary that shares the rich heritage of LGBT+ life in Bristol over the last century, with contributors coming from all backgrounds and ages from across the city. This film saw an incredible distribution across the city last year and was screened at the Bristol Pride celebrations in Millennium Square to 30,000 people.
Watch the video below to hear moving and compelling stories from the Bristol LGBT+ community which explores the resistance to diversity that many faced over the last few decades in Bristol and beyond. Here at Tusko, we hope that it is possible to continue moving forward to create a more inclusive and impactful future for us all.