So that was Chesterfield Pride 2017 and so much to be pleased with.  Good crowd, great weather, fun, family friendly and from what I saw well supported.  The team that drive Pride led by Dan Walker are very unobtrusive and low key and deserve our thanks.  The finances are a total mystery to me as a punter, but incredibly it's a free attendance event and it's great fun.

Now I'm a bit of a hardened attendee of such things, London, Nottingham, Brighton, Manchester, Berlin, Barcelona and others - but this Pride stands up as an event and as something worth being at. 

 

Let me expand what I mean.

  1. The demographics based on assumption and perception are counter-intuitive.  Those who don't go mock it and are missing out.  Their jokes and presumptions are based on ignorance, prejudice and humour.  The reality is this is a big event and well worth the time and the support.  And the assumptions are based on there not being many LGBTI+ folks in Chesterfield and North Derbyshire and this Pride 2017 proved them wrong.  Further there are significant number of allies and family and friends who make up the numbers and add value to proceedings.  Pride reflects modern forward looking Chesterfield and is proud of the Chesterfield of yesteryear that created this modernity.  So don't dis Chessie please.
  2. The mix of entertainment, stage, music, commentary, speeches and stalls and food is the right side of what is needed, expected and possible. It's not too large, not overly policed, nicely stewarded and room for the 3,000 or so attendees who come and go and stay.  But all of this is in and of itself is quite an achievement. 
  3. The open door policy is a refreshing openness that I know the organisers cherish and it is great that the crowd present reflect and respect this.  Having no charge, low level security and an enclosure gives everyone a sense of being safe.  Indeed so safe that is as able to assure a young mate of mine that he could attend and would enjoy and could assure his parents that he would be safe and so it was.
  4. Those who don't go often mutter and grumble - but this is no different to those who do go.  The truth is you cannot please everyone all of the time and the scale of discussion, debate, grumbling and indeed downright bitching that accompanies London, Brighton and other large Prides is typical of theee things.  The LGBTIQ+ communities are diverse, often hard to reach, tricky to navigate and not unsurprisingly often littered with mistrust and disappointment.  So some negative and emotional tension is to be expected, but if you don't go - it won't change. And it certainly won't improve it you stand back.

So for me roll on 2018 and let's take the chance to unlock the learning points from other Prides and indeed from this one and make it better - but the bottom line is that will be down to you folks and your desire to help out.