Wakefield LGBT Pride begun as Wakefield Pride not Prejudice and originated from a request from the LGBT youth group Fruitbowl to organise an LGBT Pride event in Wakefield. An article placed in the now defunct Yorkshire Queer Magazine SHOUT asked for volunteers to meet at the MESMAC offices in January 2005 and the committee was formed and was developed in conjunction with Wakefield Council, the Primary Care Trusts, the West Yorkshire Police Authority, the owners of two local gay venues in the city, VOX, the Men’s Sexual Health Project (MESMAC) and members of the gay community.
A working group came together and organised a programme of activity for what would be the first LGBT Pride in Wakefield. Development of the group continued with a formal constitution and election of officers which took place with the aim of running a Pride event every year.
The group decided to organise a parade through the streets of Wakefield and to put on an afternoon of entertainment with free and open access to the public. The principal aim was to celebrate the diverse cultures and lifestyles of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community in Wakefield to challenge the stereotypes, break down barriers and build bridges with the community at large.
The event was a great success, with approximately 2000 people attending and about 1000 people joining the march through the city centre.
The CCTV footfall figures for 2007 showed a maximum number of pedestrians in the precinct as 4100. Allowing for 600 who would be shopping there anyway, it shows that 3500 people attended the event and some stayed in the venues, which provided their own entertainment and did not venture out onto the precinct. There were people of all ages, many nationalities, all backgrounds and all sexualities. It would be hard to find a more diverse population working to create or celebrate a single event.
Attendance figures have risen from 1000 in 2005 to 2000 in 2006 to 3500 in 2007 and continued to grow. The committee have had several requests to intercede on people’s behalf in reporting hate crime incidents to the Police and asked to advise on various legal issues relating to employment and housing. The group also received a request to participate in an awareness-raising workshop for Wakefield and District Housing.
Wakefield Pride not Prejudice was even nominated for and won the prestigious Duke of York Award. This award encouraged the enhancement of community spirit throughout Yorkshire. It recognised excellence and acknowledged outstanding local community schemes that were doing excellent work by bringing together people within communities.
Wakefield LGBT Pride as it is now officially known has built on all this early success and has got bigger and better each year. Wakefield LGBT Pride 2018 even saw the Pride event reach out further across the city and for the first time and work with Official Pride Partner venues that were chosen by the Wakefield LGBT Pride organising group to help spread the message of love across the whole of Wakefield and even the wider district.
Wakefield LGBTQ Pride launched its website in March 2019 with the help of MonkeyHost, providing invaluable information and resources to the LGBTQ+ community across the Wakefield and West Yorkshire district.
After a successful Wakefield LGBTQ Pride in August 2018, Wakefield LGBTQ Pride will be returning Sunday 11th August 2019!