Angela Eagle becomes first Patron of Liverpool Pride
Britain's first 'out' Lesbian MP gives her support to home city pride
Angela Eagle, Britain’s first ‘out’ lesbian MP has become the first ever Patron of Liverpool Pride.
On announcing the news, she said: "I am proud to be the first official patron of Liverpool Pride. As an organisation Liverpool Pride does so much to celebrate the diversity in communities across Merseyside. It also works to tear down barriers, stand up for rights and insist on equality for LGBT people.
"And although only in its early years, the annual Liverpool Pride festival is already rivalling similar events around the globe. The festival positively represents the Liverpool city region as the wonderfully colourful, vibrant and accepting place that it is.
"It also serves as a reminder that the world has no place for discrimination and prejudice – it certainly has no place on Merseyside."
Eagle will be present at Liverpool Pride festival on Saturday 4 August. She will give a short speech at the Liverpool Pride March muster point on William Brown Street before leading the March through the city towards its waterfront site.
Eagle, recently named as number 11 in the World Pride Power List, was elected as the first ever Labour MP for Wallasey in 1992 and has successfully been re-elected four times since.
From 1997 to 2010 she served as a government minister under Prime Minister Tony Blair and later as Minister of State at the Department for Work and Pensions for Gordon Brown. She is currently Shadow Leader of the House of Commons and chair of Labour’s National Policy Forum.
Angela has energetically campaigned for LGBT equality throughout her career and played a leading role in the abolition of anti-gay laws including Section 28, introduced by the Thatcher Government, which banned the ‘promotion’ of homosexuality in schools.
She was part of the Government that introduced the Civil Partnership Act which later allowed Angela to have herrelationship long-term partner, Maria Exall, recognised by law.
Her twin sister Maria Eagle is also an MP and the pair were the first twins to be cabinet ministers.
Zoran Blackie, Chair of Liverpool Pride said: "Liverpool Pride is honoured that such an inspirational figure within the campaign for the rights of LGBT people in this country is willing to stand with us in recognising and supporting the needs of our community. I am delighted that she will be helping us to lead the march through Liverpool city centre, as she represents what we are all about – our LGBT community making a difference in our city and showing us off to the country."
Liverpool Pride is UK’s biggest FREE LGBT Pride festival outside of London. In just two years, it has established itself as one of the major highlights in the city and the wider LGB&T community’s summer calendar. Bursting onto the scene in 2010, the inaugural Liverpool Pride festival attracted over 20,000 people, which was doubled toover 44,000 in 2011.
For 2012 Festival organisers are promising the best event yet, a festival which Liverpool’s LGB&T community is proud of, attracting people from across the country to experience the diverse culture of one of Europe’s most exciting cities.
The festival came about following the launch of the LGB&T Network, at which the public voted for a Pride festival to engage, empower and involve the LGB&T communities within the city. This was fully endorsed by Liverpool City Council in January 2009. Following a number of high profile attacks in the city, the event was established in 2010 and now takes place each year to coincide with the anniversary of murdered gay teenager Michael Causer.
Liverpool Pride 2012 will take place at Liverpool’s iconic pier-head and throughout the Stanley Street Gay Quarter. In addition to this, there will be a weekend of cultural events taking place at some of Liverpool’s most influential arts and cultural establishments. The festival’s ‘Nautical but Nice’ theme, chosen in a ballot by 700 members of the local LGBT community, gives a nod to the city’s commemoration of the 100 year anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic, whilst at the same time, celebrating the city’s rich maritime history and taking advantage of the main festival site, which sits on the banks of the River Mersey.
Applications are still open for the Liverpool Pride March. Individuals, groups and organisations are invited to take part by registering online at www.liverpoolpride.co.uk/march before 31st July.