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Ilkley has Pride

The second Ilkley Pride took place at the weekend aiming to bring together people from all walks of life to stand in solidarity and show support for the rights and well-being of LGBTQ+ individuals.

A spokesperson for the organising group, Ilkley Pride & Diversity said: “Ilkley Pride was born out of a desire to create a safe and welcoming event for the LGBTQ+ community in the town and surrounding areas. The first-ever Ilkley Pride took place in 2022, organised by a group of passionate individuals who wanted to promote awareness, understanding, and acceptance of LGBTQ+ rights and issues.

“Since its inception, the event has grown in both size and significance, attracting a diverse audience, including LGBTQ+ individuals, allies, families, and friends. Ilkley Pride has evolved into a platform for advocacy, education, and celebration of LGBTQ+ rights, creating an environment where people can be their true selves without fear or prejudice. This year’s event was no different and attracted large crowds to both the afternoon and evening session which took place on Saturday at the King’s Hall and Winter Garden.

“This year’s celebration of love and diversity was further amplified through various artistic performances and entertainment. Local performers, both established and emerging, took to the stage, to showcase their talent while adding vibrancy and energy to the festivities.

“Ilkley Pride goes beyond being a mere celebration; it is also an opportunity for education and awareness. The event featured an array of engaging activities such as workshops, pride-themed crafts, and an informative talk on same sex marriage. These activities help foster understanding and bridge the gap between different communities and beliefs.

“Looking beyond Ilkley Pride & Diversity Group’s main Ilkley Pride event the group have also been instrumental in fostering dialogue and understanding between individuals with different outlooks and beliefs within the town. Ilkley Pride & Diversity Group encourage a broader conversation about acceptance and inclusion, urging everyone to reflect on their own attitudes and biases and strive for a more tolerant and compassionate society. With support from Bradford Youth Service, Ilkley Pride & Diversity Group have started Ilkley’s first LGBTQ+ youth support group and despite being in its infancy the group has already become immensely popular. Plan’s are also being made for an educational signposting project to help local members of the LGBTQ+ community access the support services relevant to their individual needs.

“By celebrating Ilkley Pride and supporting Ilkley Pride & Diversity Group, the town and its residents have come together to proclaim that every person, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity, deserves to live free from discrimination and prejudice. Ilkley’s annual pride celebration stands as a beacon of hope, inspiring others to follow suit and promote inclusivity and equality in their communities.

“As Ilkley Pride continues to grow and thrive, it reminds us that love is a universal language, capable of breaking down barriers and building bridges of understanding. By embracing diversity and nurturing empathy, we pave the way for a brighter, more compassionate future for all.”

Keighley and Ilkley MP Robbie Moore said“It has been incredibly humbling to see the whole of our community come together to support Ilkley Pride & Diversity.

“With lots of information, support, music, food, drink and entertainment, the event was absolutely brilliant, and a I’d like to pay tribute to everyone involved in organising this fantastic event, including David Shaw and Ilkley Pride’s Youth Ambassador, Noah.

“Attitudes have quite rightly changed dramatically over the last 50 years, with much progress made, but there is a long way to go and events like this absolutely help to break down barriers. 

“Love is love and love is for everyone - all should be able to lead the life they choose."

To keep up to day with the activities of the Ilkley Pride & Diversity group follow @ilkleypride on socials and visit the website ilkleypride.co.uk

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