Pride 2015 started on Friday 11 September 2015 with a comedy cabaret at The Green Rooster supplied by The Sex Shells. Jersey boy Adam Perchard and London lovelies, Callum Mac and James Egan, with stand-up comedian Thanyia Moore presented The Sex Shells’ all-singing, all-dancing comic hall of mirrors.They were unpredictable, irreverent, hilarious, sexy and shell-like!
The Channel Islands’ first ever Pride took place on Saturday 12 September 2015. The parade was due to start at West’s Centre at 12.45pm, in fact it was closer to 1.15pm, and ended at Weighbridge Square at about 2.00pm. Liberate had hoped for about 750 people, in the end Pride saw over 3,000 people parade through the streets of St Helier.
The parade was led by a vintage char-a-banc coach supplied by Jersey Bus and Coach Tours. On board were our guests of honour, including Heather Peace, Oscar Wilde and Lillie Langtry, who all spoke later in Weighbridge Square. The route of the parade took the walkers from West’s Centre to King Street, where they split from the vintage coach. The coach and walkers were reunited at Charing Cross where they continued into Commercial Street.
In Commercial Street, a 50m long rainbow flag was passed over the heads of the walkers and created a rainbow river down the street. The flag was carried over a rainbow zebra crossing laid out for Pride and into Weighbridge Place. The zebra crossing had been used in the week before Pride at various locations around St Helier.
The parade was colourful, noisy, fun and inclusive with organisations being represented by their employees with their flags and banners, individuals making efforts to dress in fabulous fashion and special guests like Leo the RBC lion and Magenta (flying in from Guernsey!).
The afternoon’s events commenced with speeches. Christian May, Chairman of Liberate, welcomed everyone and invited the Chief Minister, Senator Ian Gorst, and Social Security Minister, Deputy Susie Pinel, to raise the rainbow flag over Weighbridge Square. Christian was followed on stage by Mr Oscar Wilde, who had been invited to speak after being found stepping out of a Victorian closet in the artifacts store of to Jersey Heritage. He was accompanied by Mrs Lillie Langtry, who could not resist the temptation to interrupt Mr Wilde’s speech.
Comedy duo Bother opened the entertainment, followed by Lee from Any Given Sunday with an acoustic session. Local band, Dead Red, kept the atmosphere going and B Vocal showcased some amazing young Jersey talent. Paula Randell gave her Dame Shirley Bassey tribute impersonation with some help from members of the audience. Finally, we welcomed Heather Peace to the stage. She gave a keynote speech and acoustic session featuring some of the songs from her new album. We closed the stage with a set from Reasons (to be Proud).
The entertainment carried on into the evening with The Royal Yacht, The Troubadour and Ce Soir all holding Pride events.
Pride closed on Sunday 13 September 2015 with the Jersey premiere of the film, 52 Tuesdays.
Pride 2015 could not have happened without our generous supporters and our volunteers who helped to marshal people and equipment on the day of Pride.
Thank you to RBC Wealth Management, our founding sponsor, and The Channel Islands Co-Operative Society, our leading sponsor. Thank you to our other sponsors – Citi, Barclays, Ce Soir, G4S and Magic Touch, who also created and sold all our merchandise. Thank you to our donors – The Green Rooster, Law At Work, Baker & Partners, Lloyds Bank, Marcom for the brilliant crapaud logos, Storyteller, Natalie Mayer Photography, Intercom Trust and Exeter Pride, who loaned us the 50m flag, and Outbound, London Transport’s LGBT network, who loaned us the rubberised rainbow zebra crossing.
Thank you all for your contribution to making the first ever Channel Islands’ Pride one to remember.
The theme of the 2015 parade was Proud and Free.
On the seventieth anniversary of the Channel Islands’ liberation from an oppressive regime that denied islanders the right to live their lives openly without fear of reprisals, more than any other part of the Britain, we know what it means to have your liberty taken from you.
We have a long tradition of welcoming diverse people to our islands, a tradition that breeds tolerance of difference. We are fortunate that for generations this attitude has prevailed in our people, our laws and our leaders, meaning that, as a democratic society, we can hold differing views and our differences are resolved through debate not violence.
However, for individuals to be truly free to embrace all aspects of their personalities and be proud of who they are differences must be more than tolerated; they must not only be accepted but celebrated.
On 12 September 2015, the Channel Islands showed that we not only accept but support diversity and are proud to celebrate it.
You are someone to be proud of. #proudandfree