Thousands in city for Pride festival

Wolverhampton Pride
A parade was held before acts took to the main stage in Wolverhampton [BBC]

Thousands of people have taken to the streets of Wolverhampton for the city's annual Pride festival.

Hundreds of LGBT+ people took part in a parade involving about 30 organisations moving through the city before acts took to the main stage in Old Market Square.

Performances featured headliners Denise Van Outen and Duncan James.

This year's Pride was an opportunity to give the LGBT+ community a safe space to celebrate, organiser Beth Coey Archer has said.

She said there was "a massive inequality when it comes to hate crime" and healthcare.

"So it's important that we look at how we move forward in those areas," she said.

"We've made so much progress with equal marriage and things like that towards equality.

"We're not quite there yet and it's important that we have today to commit to that progress that we're gonna make in the future."

Charlotte Hawkes
Charlotte Hawkes said it gave people an opportunity to express themselves [BBC]

One of those attending was Charlotte Hawkes, who said the event was about bringing people in the LGBTQ+ community together.

"It's giving us an opportunity to express ourselves, express who we are [and] not have to mask that," she said.

Another attendee Jessica Morrison, said it was "all about inclusivity, making people feel welcome".

"I think it's really important right now in the world, especially 'cos [of] all the bad things that are going on, I think it's important to have events like these," she explained.

"[That's] just to really show how inclusive we are as a society and it's good for Wolverhampton."

Beth Coey Archer
Organiser Beth Coey Archer has said there was still a lot of inequality in the LGBT+ community [BBC]

One man said: "It's incredibly important to have Pride and for it to be completely inclusive, because there's a constant push to exclude people from our society.

"We need to remind everybody that there's a reason we're here and there are certainly places in the world where this is not welcome.

"We need to enforce that this is a place where we are welcome and that everybody's welcome and that without Pride, we're losing so much colour."

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