Promised to be the biggest event in the city this year and the first post-pandemic, organisers have announced Nottinghamshire’s annual celebration of the LGBTQIA+ community will take place in-person on 11 September 2021.
Paving the way for a bigger presence and positive queer representation across the city, organisers have worked with Nottingham City Council to put on Nottinghamshire Pride’s signature protest march through the city centre. While there had been plans for a full Pride event, these have had to be stripped back significantly due to government guidance.
Nottinghamshire Pride, which launched in 2013 but has had a presence in the city since 1987, is a charity funded entirely by donations and sponsorship and organised and run by volunteers. Local developer Sladen Estates has provided sponsorship for the event for the second year running.
Leigh Ellis, chairperson at Nottinghamshire Pride, said: “The march has always been the soul and centre of Notts Pride; it anchors us all to the core purposes of the Pride movement. If you feel able to join the march, turn up as your proudest self – unfiltered and fabulous, whatever that means for you. Many who rely on Pride to feel a sense of community, safety and acceptance will be delighted that this year’s celebrations will go ahead in person.
“Our main aim is to provide a safe environment and we are continuing to work in partnership with the city council to ensure the festival is secure and the correct measures are implemented. Tickets, barriers, extra security and limits on numbers are not what Notts Pride is about, so taking it back to the march seemed the most fitting way to celebrate.
“As we prepare to take to the streets again, it’s vital to take stock and remember the sacrifices and contributions made over the years to get us where are today.
“We’re looking forward to meeting more of the LGBTQIA+ community and its allies in September this year, and welcoming back those who were unable to celebrate in person with us in 2020. This year’s theme will be all about reflecting and reconnecting and we will stand in solidarity against hate and everything that unites us.”
People wishing to participate in the march should gather from 10am at the top of Albert Street, near St. Peter’s church, all the way down to Broad Marsh. The march will then set off at 11am, passing through the city centre and dispersing at the end of Broad Street in Hockley – Pride’s home for the past seven years.
Wearing a mask is strongly recommended and people are encouraged to do a lateral flow test before attending. Keeping some distance between people through the march will help keep everyone safe – those feeling unwell should not attend.
Sponsors Sladen Estates has just unveiled plans for a new £200 million business quarter development by the former Broadmarsh shopping centre and have previously developed two of the East Midlands’ most significant developments – a 275,000 sq ft office at Unity Square, near Nottingham Station, and a 1,750,000 sq ft distribution centre for Amazon in Sutton-in-Ashfield, in Nottinghamshire.
Nick and Julia Sladen, of Sladen Estates, said: “We are extremely pleased, both as a family and business, to provide sponsorship to Nottinghamshire Pride again this year, following its first ever online event in 2020. Every person deserves to see themselves represented in the books, art, music and media they consume.
“Nottinghamshire Pride aims to provide ‘visibility’, ‘education’ and ‘celebration’ of the LGBTQIA+ community and emphasises the continuing importance of the event for generations to come. It’s great to see that this year, Pride will be coming back in person to bring the city together and highlight Nottingham as a great place to live, work and thrive.”
Nottingham City Council has continued to support the LGBTQIA+ community and has previously adapted its logo to include rainbow stripes, lit up the Council House and Nottingham Castle with rainbow colours, and painted a ‘rainbow road’ in Broad Street.
Cllr David Mellen, leader of Nottingham City Council, said: “Pride is always a wonderful celebration in our city and I’m so pleased that this year at least the fantastic parade can return. Nottingham is a diverse city that celebrates equality, inclusivity and respect and this event gains in popularity year on year. We want all our citizens to feel supported and this event shows that we support and are proud of our diverse LGBT+ residents.
“The event organisers have worked hard to design an event that meets the latest Covid guidance; I would encourage anyone going to take a Covid test beforehand and to take sensible precautions whilst at the event.”
Leigh added: “As we have seen over the past year, the world can change overnight, so it’s incredibly important that the city, county and wider East Midlands region continue to work towards being a beacon of diversity and inclusion. We couldn’t make the event happen without the kindness of our volunteers and supporters, who enable us to continue uniting the LGBTQIA+ community and ensure Nottinghamshire Pride is secure for future generations.
“There has also some concern expressed about the date as it is also marks the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks in New York. It is a legitimate concern. We concluded that there probably isn’t a greater way to mark the memory of those people who died than with the largest demonstration of love in Nottinghamshire. It was a hateful act and we will make sure those who lost their lives are remembered with respect and love.
“Taking part as safely as possible will be key to the success of the march. Notts Pride will do everything it can to make that possible, as should the individuals attending.”
For more information on Nottinghamshire Pride or to get involved, please visit www.nottinghamshirepride.co.uk.