Column: Doncaster Pride is important for all of us

Doncaster Pride event gets underway with a parade around the town centre
Doncaster Pride event gets underway with a parade around the town centre

The team behind the hugely successful Doncaster Pride is putting the finishing touches to the eleventh event, taking place 19th August in Sir Nigel Gresley Square.

Visitors to Doncaster can expect to see rainbow flags around town in the week in the run up to the festival which is a celebration of diversity and equality as well as this year marking the 50th anniversary of the partial abolition of the laws making homosexuality illegal.
The event as usual is free, open to everyone and offers visitors a great day of music, food, drink and what organisers describe as the biggest party of the year. But this year there are new features; the Walk of Unity that in previous years saw thousands walk through the streets of the town centre is this year replaced by a float parade, the first in Doncaster town centre for many, many years. There will also be a new design stage taking the event into its second decade with a new dimension.
Pride events are hugely important not just for the LGBT community but for all. We celebrate how far we have come as a gay community, but there is also a serious side to what we do. 
Here in Doncaster as anywhere in the world people struggle daily coming to terms with their sexuality, telling family and friends, dealing with their own feelings as well as the views and opinions of others and that, no matter how much we believe we have equality, is never easy.
Outside the UK and across the world people are still persecuted for being gay and we must educate people that sexuality isn’t a choice, people don’t wake up and decide to be gay or straight any more than they decide the colour of their skin, it really isn’t a choice. 
Visitors to the event which starts at 1pm with the Procession of Unity, sponsored by Unison will see the usual mix of supporters and allies as well as representatives from Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners as depicted in the movie Pride. Once again over 30 years on from the end of the miners strike the two unlikely allies will march together flanked by other groups, floats and members of the public.
The Main Stage starts at 2pm and goes through until 10pm with an array of music and variety performances including the hugely popular Seann Miley Moore of X Factor fame and local breakthrough act Bang Bang Romeo fresh from performances up and down the UK.