Norwich Pride is organised by a group of volunteers from the LGBT+ community and allies.
Our vision is to turn Norwich into a rainbow. This is because the rainbow flag is the international symbol of the LGBT+ community. It is also a symbol of PEACE. When LGBT+ people see the rainbow flag, they know they are entering a safe place.
Our mission is to live in a city where everyone can feel safe and proud to be themselves. We believe there is no point in one set of human beings getting their equal rights if another doesn’t. We also recognise that LGBT+ people are not defined solely by their sexual orientation and gender identity. We are not just LGBT+. Many of us are also people of colour, disabled, religious, young, old, parents, grandparents, refugees…. For this reason we believe the city has to be safe for everyone, if it is to be safe for anyone.
Our job is to organise the Norwich Pride Parade (March) and surrounding activities on the last Saturday in July. Our central events are free, family-friendly and accessible for all. A key way in which LGBT people are oppressed is to make us invisible, unspeakable. For this reason, marching proudly through the streets of Norwich with our friends, family and allies is a truly liberating experience. When the rainbow flag flows through the city like a river, the people of Norwich can see that LGBT+ people are a vital and vibrant part of the community.
We have a set of core values that guide us through difficult times and complex decisions. It is essential that we build partnerships with organisations – councils, businesses, charities, schools – if we are to reach our vision and achieve our mission. The more organisations who come out as LGBT+ positive, the more rainbow the city becomes and the safer people feel everywhere. We welcome support from all sections of the community who share our core values.
The LGBT+ community is incredibly diverse. What delights one group of people in our community may not be supported by another. The recent Stody Rainbow Garden Party is a good example of this. We know that it brought great joy to hundreds of LGBT+ people, especially those living in rural North Norfolk who can feel isolated. It was initiated by the Head Gardener who is a gay man who wanted to make a difference. He was fully supported by his employers. Animals that were used at the event were treated with great care – see notes below.
We are aware from posts on social media that animal rights activists, some of whom identify as LGBT+, are upset about the event and a pony that was brought on last year’s Pride Parade. We ask that people write to us direct at firstname.lastname@example.org with your concerns. Explosive debates on Facebook and online petitions signed by people as far away as Mexico do not give us a true sense of what Norwich Pride-goers’ concerns are.
We can assure you that no animals are harmed at Norwich Pride events. We had already decided, in consultation with the City Council, to make it clear that no animals were to be allowed on this year’s Pride March, except of course dogs who are beloved pets. We have a dog policy to advise people of their responsibilities to keep their pets safe.
We do not work with organisations who conduct illegal activities, except of course when we show solidarity with LGBT+ people who are living in countries where it is illegal to be LGBT+.
This year we are celebrating 50 years of LGBT+ liberation since the Stonewall Riots. We are now in the busiest time of planning. We have worked with partner organisations to organise a month of activities across the city, starting with Pride Week in schools.
We know that we will never please everyone, all the time; but we hope that by making Norwich Pride as diverse and accessible as possible, everyone will get something, at some point, from the celebrations. We ask that people respect one another’s differences.
Thank-you for your support for Norwich Pride and LGBT+ people.
Richard Hulbert, owner of the ‘rainbow goats’ says: “The goats are dyed using dyes specifically designed for use on animals within the farming industry. The well-being of the goats are my prime concern and I would not consider using dyes that would cause harm and discomfort to the goats in any way.”
Carly Hurst-Williment from Hunkydory Equine Experience says: “We can confirm that the welfare of our ponies is of the highest importance to us. Our ponies are specially selected and trained in order to remain un-phased in these situations, not only are they used to lead processions but are also used to make therapeutic visits where their presence enriches the lives of elderly and infirm patients., they also make school and nursery visits allowing children from all walks of life to interact with these well behaved and well cared for ponies, of which we are extremely proud.”