CI Pride 2017 started on Friday 8 September 2017 with a wedding-themed dress down day and an announcement from the Chief Minister, Senator Ian Gorst, that the passage of marriage legislation in Jersey had been delayed and we would not see same-sex couples walking up the aisle until Spring 2018. This was a huge disappointment (and terrible timing)! However, it made the point of Pride even more firmly. Something that was not lost on the staff at HSBC, who outdid their banking rivals by lighting up their waterfront offices in the Pride colours for the whole week.
The Channel Islands’ Pride 2017 parade left West’s Centre at 3pm on Saturday 9 September. The parade was led by the States of Jersey Fire Service in one of their fire trucks and a taxi decorated with rainbows. Due to the weather forecast, Liberate think that the numbers were a little down on 2016, but that there were still over 3,000 people in the parade through the streets of St Helier.
The parade was led by Panda the Pony and her owner, Rosemary Lothian. As well as those who had dressed up in wedding gear, in keeping with this year’s marriage theme, there were representatives from many CI organisations including Andium Homes, RBC, HSBC, NatWest Bank, Lloyds Bank, Barclays Bank, Waitrose, Highlands College, the WI, Unite the Union, NASUWT and the Jersey Youth Service. Music on the route was provided by The Word on the 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. At which point, the heavens opened. What had been a beautifully sunny September afternoon became, for about half an hour, a soaking wet swamp as the parade dashed for cover in all the bars around Weighbridge Square.
It didn’t take long for people to reappear in their see-through rain ponchos and to join in with the Jersey Youth Service’s flashmob that got everyone up and dancing.
The afternoon’s events commenced with speeches. Rachel French, Chair of Liberate, welcomed everyone and invited the Lead Sponsor’s CEO, Colin Macleod, to give his message of support to the diverse Channel Islands communities. Colin then introduced the hosts of the Pride stage, David Dale and Legs Up Lucy, who were familiar faces to those audience members who remember The Cosmopolitan in the 1990s.
The big act for the 2017 stage didn’t come any bigger than the London Gay Big Band, who despite the rain got the party started with a selection of well-known hits. Paula Randell then gave her Cher tribute impersonation with some help from David and Lucy. Finally, we welcomed an array of local talent to the stage, who were interpreted by our signer for the deaf and hard of hearing, Ella O’Connor.
Thank you to The Channel Islands Co-Operative Society, our leading sponsor, Citi and G4S, our major sponsors. Thank you also to Magic Touch, who also created and sold all our merchandise, Mailmate, Delta and Vibert Marquees. Thank you to the Parish of St Helier, the States of Jersey Police, St John Ambulance and the Jersey Waterfront Development Company, who make the logistics of Pride so much easier.
Thank you all for your contribution to making CI Pride 2017 one to remember.
The theme of 2017’s Pride parade was marriage.
As 2017 will see the introduction of same-sex marriage in both Jersey and Guernsey, the theme of 2017’s Pride parade was marriage. This long-awaited piece of legislation demonstrates in the most tangible way possible that the governments of the Channel Islands believe same-sex partnerships to be the equal of opposite-sex partnerships. We celebrated those who argued for this equality over the years and we commemorated those who would have dearly loved to be married but did not live to see this day.
Marriage, in whatever form, represents a potential force for good in the world through the support those two people give each other, through the children it might produce, and through the strength that comes from being in a partnership that can be then shared with others. There is a reason why the traditional Church of England marriage service says: “It enriches society and strengthens community.”
However you feel about the institution of marriage, we hope you agree that a loving, committed relationship between two people is always something to be celebrated. #IDo
ITV Channel’s fabulous video coverage of Pride 17: http://www.itv.com/news/channel/2017-09-11/highlights-from-channel-islands-pride-2017/