Mayor to raise rainbow flag to mark return of Southend Pride

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Southend’s mayor will hoist the rainbow flag at Southend Civic Centre this Friday to mark the return of Southend Pride this weekend after a 15-year absence.

The Worshipful The Mayor of Southend, Cllr Derek Jarvis, will lead a flag-raising ceremony at 1pm on Friday 13 July, a day ahead of a week of celebrations of LQBT culture in the town. All are welcome to attend.

Southend Pride is finally making a return thanks to the hard work of volunteers on its planning committee, who have pooled their talents to raise funds and organise a varied week-long programme of events, including comedy, poetry, film, drag acts and social gatherings.

Festivities will commence with an opening party at 8pm on Saturday 14 July at The Railway Hotel and continue until Saturday 21 July, when Southend Pride Parade will march from Royal Square to arrive at Warrior Square for an afternoon of music, food and entertainment. The Festival will close with an after party at The Cliff pub on Hamlet Road from 5pm.

The Worshipful The Mayor of Southend, Cllr Derek Jarvis, said: “Even today, when LGBT people in the UK have greater rights and social acceptance than ever before, we must recognise that there are still people within the community who are persecuted, mocked and attacked simply for their sexual orientation or their gender identity.

“Neither should we forget that gay relationships are still criminalised in over 70 countries and punishable by death in ten of those.

“Southend Pride is an act of solidarity with LGBT people in our town and across the world and I am delighted to see its return in Southend.”

Dan Turpin, Southend Pride Chair, said: “We would like to record our thanks to Southend-on-Sea Borough Council and all the residents in Southend for showing support and enthusiasm for Pride in Southend.

“We have a great, positive and diverse community in Southend and Pride is about celebrating it and showing inclusivity and positivity, no matter what your sexuality or gender identity.”

For a full list of events - all of which are completely free – see the official Pride Week in Southend-on-Sea Facebook page.