A new programme of events and activities organised by the Island’s LGBTQIA+ community and allies, alongside Isle of Wight Pride, is set to benefit the Isle of Wight community.
Working alongside each other they have been exploring ways in which a Summer of Pride can take place in a COVID safe way that follows the official guidelines and road map out of lockdown.
Out On An Island are launching the first-ever exhibition entirely dedicated to LGBTQ+ heritage and oral history on the Isle of Wight. Opening on 19th June at the Quay Arts Centre in Newport, the exhibition features photography, artwork, and rare LGBTQ+ memorabilia, alongside an enlightening film documentary.
For mid-July at Bar 74 and Coburg’s in Ryde, preparations are underway for drag shows including bingo and a Sunday brunch. A day of Cabaret and Glitter Party are planned, as well as other shows at the Quay Arts and Monkton Arts who plan wizard of oz themed ‘over the rainbow high teas’.
It is hoped that local community groups will join the events with information, advice and support to the community. Breakout Youth offer group sessions and one to one support online which are available now and during the summer.
Out On An Island says:
“What our research and interviews have shown is that Pride helped many Island folk to feel safe, to understand that they are not alone and even helped them come out. Over the years, we’ve made a lot of progress as a society when it comes to LGBTQ+ rights, but there is still a lot of work to be done.
“For instance, we are still fighting for equality on issues such as hate crime, conversion therapy, LGBTQ+ education, trans rights and medical care It is vital that we remain visible and vocal in order to advocate for change and to remind those in our community that they are not fighting alone.”
Michael Salmon, owner Bar 74 said:
“In a changing world, we are learning the true values of togetherness and friendships and as a community we have stood strong with a sense of undeniable unity against the hardships that not only Covid-19 has presented, but the other injustices of the current world climate.
“This unity we have shown this past year must continue and we are committed to working on that going forward as we strive for the equality, inclusion and solidarity of our proud and diverse community on the Isle of Wight.”
Peter “Proud” Mary added:
“I hope by bringing this community together, in partnership, that in the future the continuing isolation felt by many over the past few years, the decline in the mental health of some and the struggles faced by local businesses and artists, we will be able to facilitate events and connections to bring the Isle of Wight LGBTQIA+ population into a thriving new era.”
A spokesperson for Isle of Wight Pride said:
“Cancelling the parade and beach event this year was done with a heavy heart, but with the safety of the community in mind. As we work to a return to the beach in 2022 it is amazing how the community has come together to ensure support for those in need and to celebrate the diversity of this ever-growing community of amazing people on the Isle of Wight.
“If anyone would like to add to the programme for a Summer of Pride or like to be involved, they should contact Michael and Emily [email protected]”