The Channel Islands first ever pan-island Pride started in Guernsey on Saturday 10 September 2016. Despite heavy rain, Guernsey’s population turned out to parade from Candie Gardens through St Peter Port to Market Square for an evening of entertainment on the Pride stage. It was estimated that over 2,000 people attended Guernsey’s first ever Pride parade. A 50m rainbow street flag, crowd-funded by Channel Islanders, was carried by the walkers from start to finish.
Monday and Tuesday
On Monday 12 September in Guernsey and on Tuesday 13 September in Jersey, the islands played host to Elly Barnes from the charity Educate & Celebrate. Elly delivered a workshop in both islands teaching teachers and those who work with young people about equality and diversity in the classroom. Both workshops were well attended with over 40 participants in both islands. Liberate Jersey’s aim in 2016 was to get one person trained up in each secondary school to be able to offer support to an LGBTQ youngster. This workshop helped Liberate to hit that target.
The Pride baton was then passed to Jersey in some style on Wednesday 14 September 2016 as a rainbow flag was transferred in mid-air between two skydivers high over the islands. With the help of Skydive Jersey the rainbow flag was handed over and parachuted into St Aubin’s Bay. Three members of the Liberate committee – Lee McConnell, Ashley Morris and Paddy Haversham-Quaid – were sponsored for Pride to make the jump. Due to poor conditions, only Lee managed to jump on the Wednesday of Pride week with the flag. Ashley and Paddy completed their challenge later.
Thursday 15 September 2016 was film night with two films on the bill at Rojos, Any Day Now and And Then Came Lola. Liberate were very grateful to Cinestef for their support in making the night happen. The audience numbers were small for the event, largely due to the poor weather on the night.
During the summer, ASL Executive Services had partnered with Liberate to ask LGBTQ islanders of their experiences in the workplace. It is the first survey of its kind to be undertaken in the islands and the results proved interesting. Announced at a breakfast briefing on Friday 16 September 2016 the results of the survey show that Channel Islands’ workplaces have some way to go to make LGBTQ people feel as respected and included as their non-LGBTQ colleagues.
In contrast, Friday evening saw the Channel Islands’ first ever Equality & Diversity Awards presented by Liberate to those organisations and individuals who put inclusion at the heart of what they do. The awards were presented by Rebecca Root, star of the BBC2 sitcom Boy Meets Girl, and an equality campaigner. Awards were presented in seven categories with the special award going to Social Security for their work on the Discrimination (Jersey) Law and the lifetime achievement award going to Daphne Minihane for her work with Age Concern and the Jersey AIDS Relief Group in the 1980s. The awards were judged by ITV Channel’s independent diversity panel.
Pride week closed on Saturday 17 September 2016 with Jersey’s Pride parade through the streets of St Helier. The day started with an “awakening” dance workshop at the Havana Club. Then, the parade started from West’s Centre at 12.45pm.
At Weighbridge Square, a welcome speech was made by Christian May, Liberate’s Chairman, and then the Assistant Chief Minister, Senator Andrew Green, raised the rainbow flag and Rebecca Root raised the trans flag over Weighbridge Square.
With the flags stating that Liberate was in residence for the afternoon, the entertainment got under way with Paula Randell giving the Jersey audience her Dolly Parton tribute impersonation. She was followed by various local artists including students from Be Vocal and Ladie and the Amp, who got the square rocking. Finally, Pridegoers were treated to a fabulous set from Sonia, the 1980s pop icon.
Unlike Guernsey a week earlier, the weather stayed warm and dry, which encouraged over 5,000 islanders to join the parade and state that they were #unitedthroughpride – our theme for the year.
At Liberate, because we are part of the global LGBTQ community, we know that the Bailiwicks of Jersey and Guernsey have more in common than they have differences and that is why we celebrated Channel Islands Pride in 2016. Working together, where possible, to avoid duplication of resources and sharing ideas to reach solutions quicker, helps us, as a pan-island charity, to serve our respective communities better.
In 2016 – a year that saw nationalistic rhetoric about the benefits of standing alone – Liberate was proud that it could say: the Bailiwicks of Jersey and Guernsey really were #unitedthroughpride
Finally, Liberate would like to say a huge thank you to The Channel Islands Co-Operative Society for being leading sponsor for the second year running and Citi for also being a major sponsor of Pride 2016; G4S, Mantra Brand House, Magic Touch and Ce Soir for their sponsorship; and, Havana, Rojo, The Royal Yacht, The Pomme d’Or, Cinestef and Skydive Jersey for their support. Liberate would also like to thank all those who gave their time and effort to volunteer to make Pride week such a huge success. We could not have done it without you!