Medway Pride CIC, MGSD Centre, 331 High Street Rochester Medway ME1 1DA 01634 408668

Medway Pride 2023 Report


Medway Pride 2023 was a fabulous event, thank you to everyone involved in producing and creating such a fun day. We would not of been able to produce the event without the support of Medway Pride Partners, Grant Providers, Sponsors,and Public contribitions as well as the Artists, Creative participants, the Production Team and all those who helped make the day happen. We also thank everyone who attended any of the events during the Fringe Pride and Pride festival at Rochester Castle. 

Medway Pride 2023 Summary

As Chair of Medway Pride CIC I would like to thank all our Partners, Sponsors and those who donated their time or funds to allow us to produce the Medway Pride 2023.

I would also like to thank the entertainers, artists, creative partners, and community organisations who took part in creating a fantastic and supportive event for the community.

This report begins with recent history around the development of a Medway Pride event that began in 2013 lesding to community action to create a pride event in Medway for the LGBTQIA+ community. I was involved as a provider of LGBTQIA+ services in the Kent and Medway Community Action Group that began the journey back in 2013 with the picnic in the Vines Events. I became involved in the 2019/20 event development that was started by Natasha Broadman-Steer and Martha Abernathy, becoming the Chair of Medway Pride Community Organisation in 2020 to help deliver the Gravesham & Medway Virtual Pride.

With Shea Coffey and Helanna Bowler-Irvine I founded Medway Pride CIC in May 2021 to produce Medway Pride event. The following bullet points highlight the achievements of Medway Pride CIC in producing the Medway Pride events.

 · Successful Promotion

One of the Aims of Medway Pride CIC is to raise awareness of the LGBTQIA+ Community and the barriers they face in accessing services and living as their true selves. We achieve this goal through communicating with the public, raising awareness of our community which also helped to promote not only Medway Pride, but also the Medway Towns as a place of diverse communities and cultural activities utilising Print, TV, Radio Broadcast, and Social media. Tickets for Medway Pride 2023 were free of charge and the take-up was faster than expected based on the 2022 experience, with most tickets being taken within hours of being released.

· Fabulous Public Reception The events were well received by those who attended and the local business and the wider community of Medway. We have many positive comments from the public about how the event had made them feel proud to be themselves. How they enjoyed the experience, quality and diversity of the events, and the facilities provided. Medway Pride CIC are very happy with the production, and outcomes from the pride events.

 · Opportunities for Creativity

There were participants of all ages using the opportunities to be creative at the Medway Pride Fringe workshops, guided LGBTQIA+ History walks and events over the week and weekend along with the Main Pride event in Rochester, where we provided opportunities for public participation with INTRA Arts Badge making, printing making workshops plus the opportunity to work on embroidery with the ‘Cut of Her Cloth’ arts project. The event also provided an opportunity for local acts / performers to take part in the parade and on stage-based entertainment.

We worked in collaboration with Local Artist & Photographer Michi Masumi, Mandiga Arts, INTRA ARTS & ICON Theatre on the development of ‘TRANSCEND’ a project bringing together design, printing, costume making and dance for a carnivalesque element of the Medway Pride 2023 Parade.

· Bringing communities together,

 Medway Pride 2023 was a safe space allowing people to be themselves. We created an environment where community groups across the spectrum could meet and engage with both the LGBTQIA+ Community and each other which has led to more cross-community collaboration. We successfully engaged with family groups from young children to grandparents.

· Medway Pride Fringe

In addition to the Medway Pride one day festival Medway Pride CIC work with Partners to create a 7-day festival that commenced on 14th August 2023, followed by a week of events involving local partners in INTRA Old High Street, ending on 20th August 2023. The events that Medway Pride CIC supported as part of the Medway Pride Fringe included an exhibition of children’s artwork on a design for Medway Pride Radio mascot ‘Bingo Pride Lion’ at INTRA Arts. Pride Accessories at Intra Arts, Rainbows over Medway – talk at Sun Pier, History Walking Tours about the local history of the LGBTQIA+ community, people and places in Rochester & Chatham. Medway Pride Radio also produced art workshops for young people and talks about the barriers Transgender people face in living as their true selves in 2023. All together we worked to produced opportunities for the community to learn, participate in and enjoy, to find support from our partners, creating a fabulous Medway Pride for the whole community of Medway.

What is Pride?

Pride events are annual celebrations that are held throughout the world which are designed to promote the self-affirmation, dignity, and equality of lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer, questioning, intersex, asexual people and anyone else who identifies as part of what is collectively known as the LGBTQIA+ Community as well as our allies and supporters.

These events, ranging from educational to carnivalesque celebrations are designed to increase visibility of the LGBTQIA+ Community in a positive light, cast away shame and social stigma and highlight how far the LGBTQIA+ rights movement has come and how much further it has to go.

They also bring people together, highlight that we are not alone and demonstrate avenues of support.

The first Pride event was held in New York in 1970 to mark the one-year anniversary of the Stonewall Riots which are considered to be the birthplace of the LGBTQIA+ Civil Rights Movement.

Since then, they have spread across the globe. Initially, only large cities such as London and Manchester held Pride events however, this caused many LGBTQIA+ people, particularly youths to leave their small hometowns to find acceptance in these areas often leading to rough sleeping and abuse.

Medway Pride 2023 Events

Medway Pride events usually begin during LGBTQIA+ History Month and we did begin the year with an exhibition at Nucleus Arts Halpern Gallery in Chatham. The theme of the exhibition and this year’s pride events was ‘United In Pride’ raising awareness of the component parts of the LGBTQIA+ community, what we described as the Tribes of Pride and the intersectionality of the communities of Medway.

We also worked with other creative organisations to highlight the history of the LGBTQIA+ community and its links locally in the INTRA area to Chatham and Rochester.

As part of LGBTQIA+ History month Medway Pride CIC working with Medway Pride Radio organised a speaking visit by Rowan Jetté Knox is an award-winning Canadian writer, author of the bestseller ‘Love Lives Here’: A Story of Thriving in a Transgender Family, and a human rights advocate. Amanda is passionate about embracing change, leading with love, and living our most authentic lives.

Medway Pride Fringe

Medway Pride 2023 Main Event