PLANS for the first-ever Wokingham Pride festival have had to go virtual, as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
Last year, Wokingham Borough Council leader John Halsall pledged his support to help get a Pride event up and running in the borough, mirroring the popular event that takes place in neighbouring Reading in September.
The council flew a rainbow flag in support of the LGBTQ+ community, while local businesses also displayed similar signs of support. There was also a display in Wokingham Library explaining lesbian, gay and gender identity issues for readers of all ages.
At the time, Cllr Halsall had said: “We are honoured to fly the flag in support of Pride. It sends an important message to residents across the borough that we proudly support equal rights for the LGBTQ+ community.
“We are proud to show our support for Pride, this annual celebration rallies against discrimination and celebrates diversity across our communities.”
It had been hoped to have built on this initial experience by holding a Pride event in Wokingham next month, but plans have had to be altered as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
Both Wokingham borough and town councils have pledged to fly a rainbow flag from their buildings over the weekend starting on Saturday, July 11, and it is hoped that shops, businesses and homes will add their support.
Cllr Anna Box, who is supporting the events, said: “In the week leading up to July 11, many of our homes and businesses will join them by displaying their own rainbow flags in a demonstration that we are a welcoming and inclusive town.
“Some people will also be displaying the blue, pink and white Transgender Pride flag, in support of members of our community who are transgender.
“We are hoping that this Wokingham Pride week will build greater mutual understanding, respect for differences, and friendship between residents.”
Other suggestions from the Pride team include:
- Displaying a flag in windows
- Putting a message of support on social media with the hashtag #WokinghamPride
- Suggest to churches and religious group that they mark the occasion with a prayer for mutual respect and understanding
- Have a socially distanced Pride on the Front Lawn – or Pride in the Back Garden – with a picnic, barbecue or afternoon tea
- Donate to a LGBT+ charity such as Stonewall which supports LBGT+ people around the country, including those in the Wokingham area
- Talk to children about what it means to be lesbian, gay or transgender and how they can be a good friend to others. Suggested resources can be found at www.wikihow.com/Talk-to-Your-Kids-About-Homosexuality
Cllr Box added: “Please join us on our Wokingham Pride FaceBook page where we will be sharing messages and resources leading up to July 11.”
And Cllr Halsall told Wokingham.Today that the borough council will continue to offer its support to the initiative.
“A Pride event would be quite fun,” he said, expressing sadness that the event can’t go ahead this year.
“Equality and diversity has to be in our DNA, it has to be part of who we are and what we do.”