Home Kent News The Dover LGBTQ+ group taking pride in their community

The Dover LGBTQ+ group taking pride in their community

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Original article from Kent Live

Dover Pride has announced their latest community event called Glad Rags and Bin Bags.

The event will take place on April 10 and April 17 and is a litter-pick to help "keep Dover tidy and look fabulous doing it."

In the latest of a series of outreach events, the coastal town's LGBTQ+ organisation is committed to maintaining its position as a part of Dover's local community, having launched their first pride parade in 2019.

With 40,000 kilograms of rubbish collected between Whitfield and Eastry between March 22-28 alone, Dover Pride's effort to help clean up the seafront and Pencester Gardens will be welcome news to local residents.

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It also serves as a chance for Dover's LGBTQ+ community to safely come together and give back to their community.

Combining the dirt and hard work of community cleaning with the vibrancy of the queer community, Dover Pride has encouraged attendees to dress up and be themselves for the event, promising glamour and colour in equal measure.

Perry O'Bree, a representative of Dover Pride, explained the rationale behind the event, saying: "

"We wanted to spin that negative and put a positive (sic) on that by giving back – what better way to get out there and clear up the town and make it look good?

"We just wanted to do our bit to the community as a thank you, as much as it is a clear up."

Though Dover Pride have emphasised that this is an event by and for the LGBTQ+ community, organisers have made it clear that all are welcome to participate and help out:

“We care about people’s wellbeing – this is an activity that people can get engaged with, considering we’ve been stuck indoors for months, it is an amazing opportunity to come together, not only to help the community but to be sociable.”

On the "Glad Rags" dress code, Perry emphasised self expression, explaining: “It’s whatever you’re comfortable with – whatever you turn up in you’ll be welcomed with open arms.

"Come as yourselves – that’s what’s important about pride, it’s about being yourself and embracing that.”

The event will be organised in accordance with COVID-19 restrictions, with participants required to maintain social distance, to wear appropriate face coverings, and when volunteering in groups, abiding by rules regarding social bubbles.

Dover Pride's brief history

As a relatively new group, Dover Pride launched their first pride march only two years ago, with 1,000 people turning out for the joint protest and celebration.

It also netted £44,000 for the local economy in the process, according to Destination Dover.

Since 2019, Dover Pride has helped to bring visibility to the area's vibrant and creative queer communities.

Since then, the group has helped organise a number of LGBTQ+ community events, including a digital pride celebration last summer, as the main event was cancelled due to the pandemic.

In the absence of a physical presence, the group have maintained a consistent presence online, organising seven workshop videos and nine interviews in the past twelve months, including a feature from Drag Race UK season one runner up, Davina Decampo.

Perry explains that the organisation's goal is not only the pride march, but a project to carve out safe spaces for queer people in Dover, and help raise visibility in the local area.

"Since dover pride was set up 3 years ago, we’ve seen that vast difference and change," Perry said.

"There wasn’t this community before – we were very much hidden away – and Dover pride as a community is a way of bringing us all together.”

The pandemic has not dampened the group's spirit either.

The negative of being stuck inside becoming a positive, encouraging new ways for LGBTQ+ people in Kent to be a part of their community, even if they are not publicly open about their gender or sexuality.

“By going online, we actually reach those who aren’t confident to come to a pride – it’s important to keep our digital presence out there, keep talking, because the more we talk the more people we’re going to reach, and ultimately the more people we’re going to be able to help."

Original Article