The rainbow flag is flying high over County Hall, Northallerton, to mark Pride Month.
Rainbow flags are at the forefront of Pride events, as a symbol of gay rights and the LGBTQ+ community's diversity. The rainbow flag will flying most days until 29 June as North Yorkshire County Council joins with millions of people across the UK to celebrate diversity.
Lots of pride events are taking place across the county council including bake-offs, coffee mornings, virtual events such as a DJ event and a Watch Party to raise money for LGBTQ+ charities. Across the county there is a play taking place at Harrogate Theatre “Too Pretty to Punch” on 18 June. These encourage everybody to celebrate diversity across our communities and work towards a fully inclusive society.
Shaun Doyle, County Council library assistant and a “proud ally” of the LGBTQ+ community said: “Pride month is a crucial celebration that marks the anniversary of the Manhattan Stonewall uprising. We’ve thankfully progressed a lot since the 1960s, though every day we make an effort to recognise the doctors, drivers, librarians, activists, business people and many others who also happen to be LGBTQ+.
“As a council, we take pride in being as inclusive and as empowering as possible – whether through employing a great mix of LGBTQ+ people or keeping our libraries as sanctuaries. Regardless of who you are and who you love, you should always be treated with compassion and equal respect. This month, let us all share and celebrate the Pride that our diverse community brings us.”
Pride celebrations often take the form of huge, colourful marches through city centres. Millions of people regularly turn up to each, though many events due to take place in 2020 were either cancelled or moved online due to Covid-19.
Assistant Director of care and support Chris Jones-King said: “I’ve worked at the council for quite a while now and it really is a great place to work, I am a member of the LGTBQ+ employee network and I want to celebrate that we have this network as it really shows the support and commitment across the council to being an inclusive employer who values diversity.”
As the country returns to some form of normality, many of this year’s pride marches are a mixture of online events and in-person marches, to enable accessibility for everyone. All events aim to encourage and empower people to share an understanding of diversity.
Council leader, Cllr Carl Les said: “Pride month is something which we mark and celebrate here at the County Council. Indeed we take great Pride in being inclusive and a safe place for everyone. We have a range of events happening across the county to celebrate diversity which help to remind us how we all benefit from being an inclusive society and an inclusive workplace.”