Merseyside’s Police Commissioner will be joining the festivities for the sixth consecutive year of Liverpool Pride this Saturday.
Jane Kennedy will be joining officers and staff from Merseyside Police to take part in the march, which for the first time will go through the Stanley Street Gay Quarter.
The Commissioner has joined the celebrations each year since being elected, with last year’s event seeing the biggest ever turnout from Merseyside Police marching under the banner ‘Policing with Pride’. It was also the first time ever the National Trans Police Association flag was paraded.
The event was established in 2010 and takes place each year to coincide with the date gay teenager Michael Causer was murdered.
This year’s theme is ‘Love is No Crime’ and the Commissioner and her team will be using the opportunity to raise awareness of hate crime by taking part in the parade and hosting a stall in the marketplace where her staff will be on hand to give information and advice.
Jane said: “I am delighted to once again be joining in with this colourful, vibrant event which recognises and celebrates the diversity of our region and the important role the LGBTI community play in Merseyside.
“While Pride is a joyous occasion, it is also a deeply poignant event as it was founded to celebrate and commemorate the life of Michael Causer, a young man who was taken from his family far too soon.
“Out of their loss, his family have found the strength to build a positive legacy of hope, care and support and Pride is an opportunity for us all to support them and send the message out, loud and clear, that homophobia and transphobia will not be tolerated in our region.
“I still meet people who experience hate on a regular basis, because of their sexuality or gender identity. This is something I cannot accept and, as a community, we should all be committed to eradicating. I would urge people across Merseyside to come along, support Pride and take a stand against hate in our region.”
This year’s event will get underway at 10.30am at St George’s Plateau where there will be a host of speakers and entertainment hosted by The Vivienne and Paul St German, including performances from LIPA, Royal Court Community Choir and Empire Youth Theatre, as well as poems by Liverpool poet Gerry Potter.
There will be speeches from Liverpool’s Lord Mayor Tony Concepcion, Labour MP Angela Eagle, Councillor Gary Millar, as well as other LGBT patrons and activists.
The march will officially set off at noon, with the procession taking a route along Lime Street into Queen Square Bus Station and Whitechapel, before making its way on to Lord Street, Castle Street, Dale Street, North John Street and Victoria Street before heading along Stanley Street and Dale Street, over the Churchill Way Flyover and arriving back at St George’s Plateau.
Once back at the plateau there will be further speeches and performances, as well as a special balloon release, which will kickstart the afternoons festivities planned for the St George’s Quarter and in St John’s Gardens.
The programme will include The Pink Picnic; An Education and Community Zone; A Market Area; Food and Drink Stalls; Picturehouse Travelling Cinema; Acoustic Music; Workshops; Family Zone and Speakers Corner with special guest in attendance.
This year’s Liverpool Pride takes place a week before what would have also been Michael’s 26th birthday and the PCC will also be speaking at the Michael Causer Vigil which is being held on Sunday 2 August, 5pm at Temple Square, off Dale Street.
The force's gay and lesbian support network (GLSN) is organising police officers and staff taking part and they will march under the banner of "Police with Pride".
Inspector Ross Meredith, who will lead the police contingent in the parade, said: "Being part of the parade will show our commitment to the communities we serve being places where people can truly be themselves, free from prejudice and discrimination.
"Our visibility will demonstrate we represent every single person on Merseyside and I'd urge people on the day to come along, ask us questions and learn more about our roles.
"Officers will be happy to answer any questions and will be giving out literature which people can take away and display in their workplaces.
"Saturday will be an immensely proud moment for me. After having marched in the parades in Manchester for many years, being able to be in a Liverpool parade alongside colleagues and friends is amazing."
Superintendent Mark Morgan is the Silver Commander for the event. He said: "I'd like to take this opportunity to welcome both visitors and locals to this year's Liverpool Pride.
"Officers will be visible throughout the event to help make sure everyone has a great time and enjoys it safely, but there are also some simple steps people can take to help protect themselves and their belongings:
- be aware of your surroundings and those around you as Pride will be a really busy event
- take care of your property and keep valuables close - don't leave bags and mobile phones unattended at any time
- keep wallets, purses and cash safe and out of sight
- Pride is very much a family event so keep children close by as there will be large crowds
- If you are going to enjoy the city's renowned night time economy, please do so safely. Drink responsibly, stick with your friends and plan your route home and you should have a great time.
"Pride promises to be another fantastic day in a summer of big events for Liverpool and I'm confident this year's event will be a success"
Keep up to date with Pride Liverpool announcements by visiting www.liverpoolpride.co.uk