My Name is Graham – one of the trustees and chair of Newbury Pride. The first Pride I attended was when I was 17 at Clapham Common London.
lol only joking!
Believe me, plenty more wonderful experiences in my journey to knowing who I was and here they are for you as I share a little bit more about me and why we need Newbury Pride.
I realised I was Gay when I was about 10/11 but didn’t know properly until I was 13 and had my first kiss with a boy. When I was 15, I saw a listing in Reading for a gay pub -the Wynford Arms – and I went along. The first time I went I must have walked up and down outside for about an hour before I could pluck up the courage to go in. I had never been anywhere with so much atmosphere and people “like me”.
In the year and a bit leading up to my first Pride, I made new friends and they became my extended family!
The year before, everyone was so excited about going to Pride. They all got on the train and went for the day, but at the time I couldn’t afford to go with them and felt that I was missing out! The next year, when I was 17, I was still working in a low paid job and still couldn’t afford to go, but that year was different. One of my friends had got a group of friends together and hired a minibus to take them up there. They all asked me to go, even though I couldn’t contribute. I had the best day ever: I was at Pride and didn’t know there were so many people “like me”. It felt amazing and to be there with all my friends in celebration of who we are.
This is the reason we need a Newbury Pride. I was lucky one year and my friends helped me go to Pride! However, not everyone is in the same position, some people can’t afford to go, some people are not able to travel to attend a Pride, some people may not be out. But, if we can hold a local Pride where everyone can attend, without the added cost of getting somewhere and where they can feel included, free to be themselves and realise they are not alone, then I will feel that we have done what we came here to do!
I want to thank all of our committee members and trustees for sharing their experiences in the week leading up to today, which should have been Newbury’s first Pride.
Be Safe, Be Brave, Be Strong, Keep the Dream, Newbury Pride will happen!