Tuesday, 28 August 2018

Photo Diary - Southampton Pride 2018

This weekend marked Southampton's third gay pride. I was overjoyed to have had the opportunity to take part in this years event with some of my beautiful Ikea team- come check out what we got up to on this super important day of celebrating love!

So setting the scene- amidst a sandwich of two days of rainy skies, the sun shone on us on Saturday as Southamptons LGBT+ groups and allies took to the streets of Southampton and Guildhall Square to spread love, support and the message of equality.

This year I was super excited to be taking part in not only attending Southampton Pride, but also being involved in the creation of the Ikea stall and taking part in the march.

Those of you who have seen my previous post on designing and implementing Seaside in the Square for Go!Southampton will know the drill- cue our trusty van bursting pride goodness- ready to get into the rhythm of Southampton Pride, 2018!

Fuelled on caffeine and croissants, we worked together to create a corner of Ikea within Southampton Guildhall. This year we went for a hint of Club Tropicana X Wheel of Fortune realness. Throughout the day we wanted to educate people on Ikea inclusion and LGBT+ values.

In the opposite direction to what a retailer is supposed to do- as a team, we felt that it was most important to not be a presence in Pride to advertise Ikea, or Ikea products. We kept our stall relatively minimal as we wanted to focus on showing support and discussing our values.

You can't see it in this image, but somehow the most fabulous Marketing Manager in town found a bubble machine! Can we just take a moment to praise him for that one! If anyone can find interesting quirks to complement one of our events, its him! Shout out to you Alan!!

We were also incredibly fortunate that the iconic Ikea 'Bjorn Bear' turned up to show support on the day! Because baby, you were Bjorn this way...

I was so freakin' excited to have been in the parade march. Here you can see my little goofy face in action. I soon swapped out this sign to be a key member of the P.R.I.D.E team. I was the 'E'. I marched my little bum off, beaming with happiness and singing along to the gay tunes that the parade organisers provided!

Now need I introduce this next photo?! You all know how much I love neon artwork. This one almost made me cry and I am kicking myself that I forgot to note the artist (sorry guys!). This piece was especially created and displayed for Southampton Pride and could be found at the John Hansard Gallery. The wall mounted "You Belong Here' really sent the message of the day and intrinsically encompassed the spirit of Pride. Oooch ma heart <3

The message continued throughout our city as this beautiful flower installation and rainbow painted staircase sent a powerful, bold message. Southampton is a place of inclusion and love. There is no room for any form of discrimination and this stamp of colour shouts that message to all- West Quay, you did good! As a member of the LGBT+ group, I can honestly say that this is not only beautiful, but heart felt. Having grown up and lived in the city relatively my whole life, I am so proud of how progressed the city is. I have experienced discrimination for my sexuality walking down the streets of Southampton before, like many, however with statements like this- it really does feel like our city is a supportive, diverse place that has no tolerance for any form hate.

Throughout the day there were so many free events and activities all provided with a LGBT+ rainbow backdrop. It is so amazing that each year the organisers just absolutely make the day better and better!

As the day turned to night, my celebrations continued. Well... you cant end Southampton Gay Pride anywhere else really can you? The Edge is Southamptons only 'gay' nightclub. I put that in speech marks because it is not just a gay bar. It is a safe house for anyone and everyone. You can be the straightest, or the freakiest of babes and you will always be welcome. 

Whilst the day looks and is colourful, fun and filled with happy vibes- it is so important to still understand why we need to stand with our fellow humans in the fight for LGBT+ rights. Even though we have so far as a movement, there is still so far to go. Check out the link below to head to Stonewalls website to learn more about the difficulties faced by the LGBT+ community today- we all need to educate ourselves and understand that you should NEVER EVER face discrimination for loving someone, or yourself.


Thank you for reading beautiful humans! I hope you all enjoyed a look at my Pride photo diary. If you went on the day, I hope you enjoyed it and felt as much love as we did!


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