Keep your distance, but time to take Pride in Wokingham
FINAL preparations are being made for Wokingham’s very first Pride event this wekeend.
The event aims to bring together the borough’s LGBTQ+ community. In noncoronavirus times, it would probably include a parade and a party, but events have had to be curtailed.
However, a socially distanced meet-up will be held in Market Place on Saturday at 11am.
Those taking part are invited to bring a pride flag, either a rainbow or the newer pink, blue and white flags which are on display in shops and businesses across Wokingham.
“A lot of people have asked me what they represent,” said Rachel Bishop-Firth who has been one of the team giving Pride flags out to businesses and churches in the town.
“The pink and blue flag is the Transgender Pride flag. I’ve been giving them out because of my neighbour, who has really helped me through all the stresses of lockdown.
“She’s a transgender woman, who works as a senior IT Engineer and is bringing her son up in Wokingham.
“I’ve realised that a lot of people don’t know much about trans people, or expect them to be living everyday family lives here in Wokingham.”
Other ways in which people can take part in a socially-distanced Pride includes taking selfies and sharing them on social media, with a #WokinghamPride hashtag. Organisers are also asking people to hold conversations about Pride and what it means with friends and neighbours, and to lobby local councillors for a real event next year.
Churches are also encouraged to use a prayer specially written for the event by the Diocese of Oxford and printed on this page.
Organisers said: “Wokingham Pride has had warm support from several of our local churches.
“If you’re over 18 andwould appreciate support on matters surrounding sexuality, gender and faith the LGBTQ+ Chaplaincy service are here for you, a small group of affirming volunteers working alongside Oxford Diocese to provide a listening ear and conversation.
“You can find out more about their work here: www.oxford.anglican.org/ mission- ministry/ lgbti- chaplaincyservice/”
Wokingham Pride has also compiled a list of support services for those who need support, especially following lockdown and the alleged attack in Forbury Gardens last month, where three people died.
They include Wokingham’s ARC counselling service – email office@ arcweb.org.uk or coordinator@ arcweb.org.uk. They currently have a long waiting list, but there are a number of alternatives.
SupportU in Reading provides support on LGBT+ issues and can be contacted on 0118 321 9111. Their website is at www.supportu.org.uk