I originally became involved with Bolton Pride after a local report was published showing increases in LGBT Hate crimes within Bolton and how people did not feel safe. It was worrying to see this occurring.
The organisers of Bolton Pride wanted to raise awareness of this and show support to our LGBT community and I was keen to get involved. Having attended Bolton Pride every year since the very first event, it has been a joy to see it grow from strength to strength.
The event is about visibility and creating a sense of belonging for those who may not have it and about raising awareness and supporting victims of hate crime.
The parade is one of my favourite highlights of the weekend. The number of people participating every year has grown including individuals, community groups as well as organisations such as the Police and Fire Service.
The effort they put into creating the amazing colourful costumes is always a pleasure to see, as are the smiles and waves you get from the wider community who stop to watch as we go by, which is always welcoming.
Bolton Town Centre Businesses get involved and fly the rainbow flag from their premises. It’s delightful walking through the town centre and seeing the vibrant colourful flags displayed and the Town Hall lit up with the rainbow lights.
The community event provides me with an opportunity to speak to people about what hate crime is and the importance of reporting hate incidents. It also allows for victims of hate crimes to speak to me about their experiences. No one should be singled out or treated differently for who they are and those conversations and listening to their heart-breaking stories, for me, are a constant reminder of why we need to have Bolton Pride.