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The first Lancaster Pride event since 2007 will take place on campus this weekend, event organisers have confirmed.
On Saturday 22 June, Lancaster University will host workshops, live music entertainment and the Pride march itself in celebration of the diversity of individuals’ sexualities and the equality with which all should be treated, irrespective of sexual or gender identity.
Activities will get underway at 10.00 a.m. with workshops in Bowland College seminar rooms until 2.00 p.m. At 3.00 p.m. the main march itself will set off from Alexandra Square, with participants wending their way down the spine towards Lonsdale College, where the rest of the day’s entertainments are set to extend into the evening hours in the form of Gaystrav, which is the official after-party. Gaystrav kicks off the start of Extrav Week and “will be amazing”, according to its organisers.
One of the event organisers, current Lancaster University LGBTQ* Campaigns Officer and incoming Cross Campus LQBTQ* Officer Anna Lee, told SCAN that the five-year hiatus of the Pride march was in part due to the somewhat turbulent history of Lancaster University’s Pride event.
“Lancaster pride has had a very rocky past last, happening in 2007, when someone stole all the money for the event and lot of people ended up out of pocket. The ones before had other problems,” Lee stated.
Lee had hoped to hold the event in the city centre, but both the City Council and the local police force were unwilling to give the green light without much more advanced notice. Although Lee contacted the two bodies over Easter, she encountered delayed responses from University Management that led to the organisation being too short-notice for police and council agreement. Nevertheless, Lee has given advanced notice for next year’s event, and is hopeful that Lancaster Pride will receive full support from local authorities in 2014. However, she told SCAN that, should Saturday prove successful, it may well be that organisers want to host Pride 2014 on campus anyway.
The University’s delay in responding led to the event, which was due to be held on June 16, being moved to Saturday 22. Fortuitously, this has meant that the event falls outside of the campus-wide Quiet Period, meaning that, as Lee stated, marchers “can make as much noise as [they] want!”
Though historically Pride events have typically been thought of as a celebration of gay and lesbian sexual identities, more recently the Pride ethos has broadened in recognition of further identities of both sexuality and gender with which people now identify. As understanding towards issues of gender, sexuality and self-identity increases, so too does the recognition of those identities that are regarded as outside the sphere of hetero-normativity. Pride celebrates all aspects of sexuality – whether gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender or queer – and also embraces heterosexual individuals who want to show support and respect to those identifying as the above.
Gaystrav, in Lonsdale Bar, will provide more of a ‘club-night’ vibe and will last from 9.00 p.m. until 3.00 a.m. Live DJ sets will feature Lonsdale’s own Charlie Edwards, as well as former SugarHouse regular Louise Davies, and a DJ-ing debut from Anna Lee. There will also be a barbecue, a photo booth “to capture all your memories in never-to-be-forgotten images” and floor-games including Giant Jenga and Giant Twister.
These events have been supported and funded by all but one of Lancaster University’s undergraduate colleges. Furness, County, Lonsdale, Pendle, Cartmel, Bowland and Fylde colleges have each pledged £200 from their Innovation funds.
Entry to Gaystrav is free, and is a vibrant and colourful start to the following week’s Extrav events. As its Facebook presence states, “This event is open to all. Absolutely everybody. And that includes you.” Gaystrav is set to be the start of regular gay night on campus. Its official Facebook page can be found at https://www.facebook.com/#!/events/555878694455660/.
For further details of the Pride march, and for full confirmation of the entertainment line-up in Lonsdale as it is announced, see the Facebook group https://www.facebook.com/#!/events/628255797185486/.
Further information and support may be found at Lancaster’s LGBTQ* Society webpage: http://yourlgbtq.lusu.co.uk.