The first ever Jersey Pride event took place this weekend with the level of support suprising even the organisers.
Around 1,000 people had been expected at the celebration for equal rights for all sexualities, but at the height of the parade it's estimated around 3,000 took part. Organised by Liberate Jersey it's set to become a regular fixture on the calendar and one which organisers say could help diversify the local economy.
Christian May Vice-Chairman of Liberate, Jersey said: "It was amazing absolutely fantastic, we were completely overwhelmed. When people kept asking what numbers we were expecting I thought it would be nice to get 1,000, but at the highest count there were around 3,000 in the parade. It was a wonderful demonstration of people coming out for equality and diversity.
"I think that it will open peoples' eyes to how diverse the community's views are and also it is a great way of bringing people here. An interesting statistic is that Brighton Pride Day brings in around 3% of their annual income in one day. They get about 250,000 people going to their Pride weekend, so look at the potential for Jersey. EDD have event led tourism as one of their priorities so what a great way to promote Jersey to a market that we've not really targeted before. The pink pound."
The group is already making plans to make the event a regular fixture which could also become a pan-island Pride celebration. "I know Guernsey are hoping to have an event the same weekend so we need to sit down and discuss if we are going to hold it as a weekend of events so we know everyone across the islands will be celebrating it on the same day. From the comments and texts I've been receiving I know that everyone is very keen to see it happen again."
Jersey's Chief Minister, Senator Ian Gorst, issued a statement ahead of the Parade, "I am pleased to welcome the Channel Islands' first official Pride Parade in Weighbridge Square today and I look forward to raising the rainbow flag to symbolise the diverse community we have in Jersey. I congratulate Liberate on organising such an inclusive event and I hope everyone who attends enjoys a fun day out.
"I support equality in all areas of our community and I am proud that the State Assembly voted unanimously to outlaw discrimination based on gender and sexual orientation. The next important stage in promoting equality will be the States debate on same sex marriage, which I will be leading later this month.
"I hope today's event brings islanders together to celebrate being part of the colourful patchwork of communities that make up Jersey's society today."
Pic credit: Natalie Mayer
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