Channel Islands to get first official Pride parade

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The Channel Islands are getting their first ever official Pride parade – with a march set to take place in Jersey later this year.

As Crown Dependencies, the Bailiwicks of Jersey and Guernsey – which have a combined population of around 168,000 – lag behind England, Scotland and Wales on LGBT rights.

The islands have never before had an official pride event – but LGBT group Liberate has today announced plans for a pride march in Jersey.

The March will take place on Saturday September 12 this year in Jersey’s capital of St Helier – a year on from an impromptu rights protest in 2014 when plans for civil partnerships were hit with a delay.

Vice Chairman for Liberate, Christian May, said: “Pride is a global phenomenon. Almost every country where LGBTQ people are free to live without fear of persecution has a Pride event.

“It allows the community and their friends and family to come together, firstly, to show how proud they are to be part of a diverse society and, secondly, to celebrate being free to make that statement. Pride transcends politics. It’s a celebration of inclusion.

“Jersey has taken some bold steps recently, and will continue to do so, to ensure equality for all its citizens, regardless of their race, gender or sexuality. The Island should be proud of what it has achieved and Pride is one, very visible way, to demonstrate that.”

The march will head through St Helier to Weighbridge Square – where there will be a speech from a “special guest”, as well as music and cabaret performances.

Mr May added that all were welcome, saying: “Pride is organised by the LGBTQ community but it is not exclusively for that community. It is a party everyone is welcome to attend. If you haven’t been to a Pride before, it is a colourful, fun and friendly day out for all ages that celebrates diversity, symbolised by the rainbow flag.”