Be Here, Be You, Be Proud: Happy Valley Pride Returns for 2023.

Happy Valley Pride returned to the Calder Valley this week, celebrating our LGBTQIA+ community through movies, music, comedy, cabaret, and poetry before it goes out in style with the ‘Big Day Out’ on Saturday 29th July at Calder Holmes Park, Hebden Bridge.

Happy Valley Pride started after local residents Mike Stephens, David Kennedy, John Spencer and Darren Spruce decided a stance needed to be taken after homophobic graffiti appeared in their hometown in the Upper Valley.   The first Happy Valley Pride was launched in 2016 by television writer, producer, and director Sally Wainwright.

The non-profit organisation strives to promote equality and diversity to eradicate discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, by engaging with the local community through artistic and educational means.

Happy Valley Pride artistic director, Tim Whitehead said:

“Happy Valley Pride returns this year to celebrate the LGBTQIA+ community throughout the Calder Valley and beyond. Members of our community are under attack locally and globally, so it is more important than ever to stand together, be proud and celebrate!”

This year’s Pride kicked off with The Big Bingo Show at The Old Gate for a night of hysterical drag bingo with hosts Timberlina and DJ Auntie Maureen, and Fluid, L with the T Edition, an evening of poetry celebrating queer life, queer love and queer solidarity taking place at the Hebden Bridge Little Theatre.

There is lots going on toward the end of the week, including a live performance from iconic Scottish singer/songwriter and Happy Valley Pride patron Horse McDonald and a cabaret double bill with David Hoyle and Ginger Johnson at The Trades Club on Friday 28 July at 7.30 pm.

However, Saturdays pride extravaganza, The Big Day Out, promises to be bigger than ever with an array of singers, DJs, guest speakers, food and drink stalls and headliners, Ru Pauls Drag Race UK Season 2 stars, Ginny Lemon and Sister Sister.

The day will start with the Youth Pride Takeover, where local children from Happy Valley Pride’s Youth Engagement project will get involved with an hour-long mini-Pride which they have programmed, produced and presented themselves.

Education is at the core of Happy Valley Pride’s mission, they work hand in hand with schools across Calderdale to help them to learn more about the LGBTQIA+ community, anti-bullying and the diversity of families within our local and wider community.

The Mind Your Head well-being and information hub, in partnership with The Brunswick Centre, will also be present at the Big Day Out, where LGBTQIA+ individuals will be able to find out more about mental health services in our area and the support available.

If you would like to learn more about Happy Valley Pride and the events they have coming up, please visit their website: Happy Valley Pride Website.

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