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How we brought Pride to Powys

Tuesday, 14 February 2023 Jo

Jo, from Mid and North Powys Mind, explains how the local community pulled together for Powys' first ever Pride parade.

However you identify, we’re here to celebrate you. And fight for your mental health.

That’s why we’re marking LGBT+ History Month.

Mae'r dudalen hon hefyd ar gael yn Gymraeg. This link will take you to a Welsh translation of this page.

Mid and North Powys Mind has been running an LGBTQ+ peer support group since 2017. The group was set up after a need was identified to provide a safe, supportive space for people who identify as LGBTQ+ to meet with peers, enabling people to discuss the issues they were facing that were impacting on their mental health, reducing isolation and improving people’s sense of wellbeing.  Initially the group met monthly, increasing to once a fortnight quite quickly, on request of the members.

"The group were passionate about reducing stigma and ensuring that those who needed it were able to access support."

As a peer led group, members wanted to raise awareness about being LGBTQ+ in Powys and help reduce the stigma that is attached and ease the effects of minority stress.  The group invited the local Police LGBTQ+ liaison officer to speak, which created good links and promoted safety.  The group also went to film showings and discussed specific topics requested by group members. The group also worked with NHS Wales to improve sexual health services in Powys, through consultation. 46 people accessed the group in the first few years.

Led by Mid and North Powys Mind’s LGBTQ+ worker, Shaun, the group were passionate about reducing stigma and ensuring that those who needed it were able to access support.  In 2019 discussions began around holding a Pride picnic.  Then came the pandemic!  Although the picnic had to go on hold, during the following year plans grew and we employed a Pride Co-ordinator to work alongside our LGBTQ+ worker.  We were successful in some small funding bids to support the project and worked hard to make the vision of the group become a reality.

On Saturday 16th July 2022 Llandrindod Wells was home to our landmark event in Powys as members and allies of the LGBTQ+ community marched in celebration of Powys Pride’s inaugural event.  Over 400 people turned out to celebrate Powys’ first ever Pride parade.

The day started at 12pm with a march around the lake before arriving at the Temple Gardens for the festival. 

The festival at Temple Gardens featured an array of performances, speeches, stalls and support from all corners of the LGBTQ+ community in Powys.

The event featured numerous stalls from organisations across Powys such as NHS Cymru, Montgomeryshire Family Crisis Centre, Powys Association of Voluntary Organisations, Montgomeryshire Girl Guides, Umbrella Cymru, and many offering advice to attendees and showing solidarity with the community.

Artistic stalls also played a part, with music, poetry readings and a display chronicling the history of LGBTQ+ rights in Powys.

In the evening entertainment moved to Pavilion.  The Pavilion hosted a ticketed event featuring drag artists Polly Amorous and Pixie Perez, Britney Spears tribute Absolute Britney, and music from DJ Madame Twisted.

"Events like this are so vital for a community, to meet voices and other perspectives that assure us we are not alone."

Powys Pride volunteer Ivy said: “To say I’m very pleased with how it’s gone is an understatement, I didn’t know what to expect but I never could have imagined something like this.

“I grew up in Powys, and spent 15 years being unsure of my identity, thinking I was the only one who felt this way.  It’s why events like this are so vital for a community, to meet voices and other perspectives that assure us we are not alone and that allow us to be ourselves amongst ourselves, especially in more isolated rural communities.”

"I know that it meant so much to so many people that they were able to have an event like this in their home county."

“We are completely floored by how well everything went for the first ever Powys Pride, when around 400 people came out to show their support and have fun. The atmosphere was unlike anything I’ve experienced in Powys, and I know that it meant so much to so many people that they were able to have an event like this in their home county.”

“It was also a big draw for people outside of Powys, with people travelling from every corner of Wales. We knew it was going to be great, but seeing it all come together like that is absolutely staggering.”

 

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