“Shall not promote the teaching in any maintained school of the acceptability of homosexuality as a pretended family relationship”.Local Government Act, 1988 – Prohibition on promoting homosexuality by teaching or by publishing material.
Put yourself in the place of a 13 year old in the Lake District in 1988. The world was in the midst of the AIDS crisis and homophobic articles were common in the national press.
I was the 13 year old that Mrs Thatcher was trying to “protect”. Sadly for her it had the opposite effect.
Gay rights didn’t make it to the Lakes, so TV was the only connection to the outside world. Bringing this revolting clause presented a call to arms, organisations like Stonewall appeared and words Gay and Pride were bandied around. I’d always known I was different but now I wasn’t alone.
It couldn’t have been a better signpost for me, if Margaret T thought homosexuality was wrong, it must be right.
That isn’t to say I had an easy time of it. The 80s were dark and by bringing homophobia to the masses, we all copped it one way or another.
Section 28 was only repealed 15 years ago. We need to remember that our previous Prime Minister was incredibly vocal in keeping it until he did a U-turn in 2009. Our current “leader” has consistently voted against LGBT rights.
Happy Valley Pride is an eclectic, alternative and inclusive, week-long festival for everyone. Celebrating LGBT+ life in Hebden Bridge and surrounding areas. This year, it will be taking place earlier than in previous years, during the week of 22 to 28 July 2019.
Founded in 2015, the festival has rapidly grown in size and stature – last year we attracted over 3,000 attendees across 15 events and 7 days. Set in the stunning location of the Calder Valley (recently recognised in National Geographic’s Cool List 2019) we’ve built an enviable reputation for creating a distinctive, LGBT+ arts-focused programme.
The decision to move the festival was taken to guarantee the calibre of artists and performers now expected of Happy Valley Pride, as the previous dates were close to other key festivals, notably Edinburgh Festival.
Our Chair and Festival Programmer, Tim Whitehead:
“In the last couple of years, we have managed to attract an incredibly diverse and reputable range of artists. Camille O’Sullivan (recently voted in the Top 25 Jools Holland’s performances) headlined last year, due to an unusual change in schedule. In 2016, BBC Radio 4 regular, Zoe Lyons was another coup and a total sell out. We were aware of other artists we’d loved to welcome to Happy Valley Pride, yet missed out simply because they were booked for Edinburgh. We’re now planning a superb week, which we’re excited will offer something special for everyone and offer our best Pride yet.
At the heart of this, we owe a huge debt of gratitude to to the local community and businesses who have supported us in funding the festival, such as local artist, Kate Lycett, whose unique artwork donation attracted national interest via our art auction.”
Which brings us on to the first confirmed event for 2019 – the auspicious return of legendary London-club night, Duckie. Having lured them to Yorkshire from their Vauxhall Tavern residency – last year’s inaugural visit to The Trades Club sold out in 48hrs post-announcement. Its cult cabaret line up of renowned performance artists is bound to guarantee Happy Valley Pride will stand above the Pride crowd.
With a growing Committee of volunteer trustees and loyal festival team, we’ve quickly built a strong reputation and year-round profile via social nights, community involvement and regular Trades’ Club fundraiser nights. Working alongside local schools and other community groups, we seek to raise understanding and acceptance of the LGBT+ community via art projects.
With plenty still to do, those interested in getting involved please visit the ‘Get Involved‘ page for more info.
Unified with an LGBTQ+ Heroes theme, the festival aims to provide a spectrum of exciting, inclusive events, bringing together nationally renowned and local artistes. Confirmed so far, but with more to come:
Mike Stephens, Chair said “The incredible community and business support we’ve received in the past 12 months has enabled us to grow the festival and embrace our LGBTQ+ community. As a small and entirely volunteer-organised festival, support from Hebden Royd Town Council and local businesses, including Yorkshire Soap, has helped make this year’s festival possible. We’re extremely excited and thrilled with this year’s expanded programme and look forward to hosting our wonderful guests and performers”.