Nottinghamshire Pride 2011Tagged as: bisexual gay gay_pride lesbian lgbt lgbtq local_communities nottingham_pride pride queer sexuality
Neighbourhoods: forest_rec market_quare nottingham
On Saturday July 30th, Nottingham's LGBT community and others gathered for Nottinghamshire (no longer merely Nottingham) Pride.
As in the past 2 years, the festivities were preceded by a march. This year this made it sway from the Market Square to the venue at the Forest Recreation Ground. Forming up prior to the march was an interesting affair with most of the square taken up by the giant litter tray known as the "Nottingham Riviera". As in previous years, the march was astonishingly punctual, leaving only minutes after the announced time of 10.45am.
Given the start and end points, I had assumed that the march would make its way up Mansfield Road, reversing the usual route. However, because of the gas works currently taking place, the march was taken onto Shakespeare Street and then up Dryden Street. We then made our way through various back streets (where few people but the residents will have seen us) before emerging onto Forest Road East. From here we turned left, past Nottingham High School and then entered the Rec from the gates, making our way down the hill to the fenced off area where the rest of the event was to take place.
The march was as colourful as ever with a wide array of drag queens and costumes. The parade was led by 2 police horses with the riders in what I assume is dress uniform. There was also a marching band (I think they were the same one who've joined the march in previous years) and it was interesting to discover that police horses are clearly quite disturbed by covers of cheesy pop songs. This may or may not be a useful insight for future public order situations.
Marchers were joined by various officials including the Chairman of the County Council, the mayor, the Sheriff and a senior police officer (whose name and rank I can't recall).
Corporate sponsorship of the event was more prominent than I recall from previous years. EOn were particularly prevalent with a banner on the march, a large stall and their logo on official signage and programmes. They are presumably significant sponsors. I'm as cynical about this as anybody, although I guess it's better they spend their money on Pride events than harassing climate activists. The Co-Operative also had three huge banners on the march and Smirnoff/Diageo banners were hung up around the arena and on the main stage. NCT meanwhile had a Pride-themed double decker bus.
The stalls in the arena were the usual mix of charities (Terrence Higgins Trust, the Samaritans), unions (Unison, RCN), councils (city and county) and instruments of repression (prison service, Notts Police, British Transport Police, "Community Protection"). At 60 quid a stall, the paucity of grassroots campaigns is hardly surprising.
As ever, the event was notable for its lack of politics, beyond a vague sense of "pride" and this year there was no fringe event. Apart from a few placards on the march (including one apparently comparing county council leader Kay Cutts with German Nazism), Nottingham Pride seems to have little to say. This is perhaps particularly surprising given the impact of the cuts on local LGBT services (including the LGBT Switchboard). Nevertheless, it remains an important - and fun - part of the calendar.