Leeds City Council will mark what would have been the city’s 15th pride event by lighting civic buildings across the city up in the colours of the rainbow and proudly flying the pride, bi and trans flags.
This year’s event was planned for Sunday (2nd August) before organisers had to make the difficult decision to cancel it due to the coronavirus pandemic. Although this year will be celebrated differently, the occasion can still be marked. Event organisers are encouraging people to celebrate at home with friends or family and to tag #LeedsPrideAtHome on social media.
If you are heading in to the city centre to celebrate it’s important to plan ahead as most venues have reduced capacity and many will require a table reservation. Remember, strict social distancing guidelines are still in place and drinking on the street is prohibited.
Councillor Jonathan Pryor, Leeds City Council’s executive board member for learning, skills, employment and equality said:
“It has been fantastic to see how Leeds Pride has grown over the past 15 years and it has become such an important event for the city. Although the celebrations will be quieter this year, our commitment to supporting the LGBT+ community is louder than ever and we are proud to fly the pride, bi and trans flags from our civic buildings and light them up in the colours of the rainbow. Leeds is an inclusive and diverse city and we will continue to work hard to ensure everyone feels welcome here. I urge anyone who is celebrating this weekend to do so safely and sensibly.”
Lord Mayor of Leeds, Councillor Eileen Taylor said:
“Leeds Pride is one of the real highlights in our city’s events calendar and it is a huge shame that this year’s had to be cancelled, although that was of course the right decision to make in these unprecedented circumstances. I hope to see the celebrations back next year, bigger and better than ever before.”
Councillor Hannah Bithell, Leeds City Council’s LGBT+ Champion said:
“It is a shame Leeds Pride could not go ahead this weekend, especially as 2020 marks the 50th anniversary of the first major Pride march in New York in 1970. Leeds Pride is a fantastic celebration of our LGBT+ communities, is free to everyone, and continues to develop each year. I know the event will continue to grow as soon as it is able to, but for now we must celebrate differently in order to keep everyone safe.”
Leeds Pride is set to return on August 1 2021.
Leeds Pride has taken place annually since 2006, attracting increasingly bigger crowds and more colour and diversity each year.
The first event saw roughly 300 people gather on Millennium Square before parading to Lower Briggate. Over time, the event’s popularity soared and last year around 60,000 people attended alongside 140 parade floats.
Leeds Pride is now believed to be the largest free pride event in the UK and it provides an important opportunity for the city’s LGBT+ community to celebrate in a welcoming, inclusive and fun atmosphere. The event also has a positive impact on the city centre’s economy, generating over £4 million each year.
Last year, the council was invited to lead the pride parade in recognition of the work it has done to support Leeds Pride and LGBT+ equality in the city. Over 100 council employees took part in the parade through the city centre.