By Mark Cook, Care and Support Area Manager
Pride in Hull is an annual event, aiming to offer a platform to Hull and East Yorkshire’s LGBT community and to raise awareness of LGBT issues.
It’s always a special event, but this year it’s even more so as Hull hosts the first ever national UK Pride, kicking of the Pride season in style!
After months of events celebrating Hull’s title of City of Culture for 2017, the week-long celebration promises to deliver a series of events that we will be equally proud of.
The annual parade through the heart of the city centre allows our community to be visible and show what we have achieved, how far we have come, what is still needed, but also to show we have pride in the place we live.
Pride is inclusive of people from every race and faith, whether disabled or able-bodied, all sexualities and genders. The event, and the organisation as a whole, is run entirely by volunteers, led by a board of trustees known as Hull LGBT+ Community Pride.
By supporting Pride, we hope to campaign for equality and challenge discrimination by creating opportunities for engagement while celebrating LGBT+ life.
Riverside Care and Support has sponsored the event for the last two years and this year Riverside’s presence will be bigger than ever. Celebrating 50 years since homosexuality was decriminalised in the UK, our LGBT staff group Spectrum will be marching as proud employees, spreading the word that Riverside is an inclusive employer.
I have worked for Riverside under its various names for almost 25 years. I have never felt I have had to hide my sexuality form colleagues but have experienced some discrimination on the odd occasion. I also always avoided answering questions from customers.
Since the introduction of the LGBT staff group Spectrum, I feel it has been easier for me to be myself with customers and answer questions about my preferences without any feelings of shame.
I feel the Friends of Spectrum launch, where non-LGBT colleagues were invited to show their support for their LGBT co-workers, had a big impact on colleagues and raised awareness of some of the issues LGBT groups face. Friends have supported me over the last three years attending Hull Pride events and challenging some of their unconscious bias.
I feel proud to work for Riverside and be who I am.