Original article from Kent Live
Canterbury Pride finally returned to the city today (September 11) after a year away due to the COVID-19 pandemic which shut down many other Pride celebrations in 2020 and 2021 alike.
The celebrations were as vivid, bold and vital as you'd expect – with huge numbers turning out to show their pride in their identity, and allies turning out in solidarity and to enjoy the festivities.
Several high-profile names were in attendance, including big-name Drag Queens, alongside local community organisations and the general public.
Now entering it's fifth year of existence, Canterbury pride has become one of Kent's largest and most well-established celebrations of lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and queer visibility.
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The streets were filled with the traditional LGBTQ rainbow flag, alongside trans rights flags and a variety of other pride flags showing the diversity within the queer community as a parade weaved through the city centre.
Festivities continued at The Jane Dohn Gardens, with live music and performers taking over the order of events as Pride carried on through the afternoon.
The celebrations even attracted some star power this year in the form of BBC3's 'Ru Paul's Drag Race UK' season one fan favourites Baga Chipz and Cheryl Hole.
The pair were later pictured with Dover Pride organiser Perry O'Bree, showing just how much a county-wide celebration this was, beyond just being about Canterbury.
Another Drag Race UK contestant was also in attendance – with River Medway being set to star in the next season of the show due to air later this month.
Other local community organisations were in attendance – with Kent Fire & Rescue, domestic abuse charity Victim Support Kent and Kent Ambulance crews also in attendance.
Pride began as a protest movement in response to police violence and repression in the USA in the late 1960s, though it has since taken on a more festive form as acceptance of queer people has become mainstream.
This transformation is very recent though – with the march-turned-parade serving as a defiant defence of the LGBTQ+ community through the 70s, 80s, 90s and 00s, weathering the AIDS pandemic, Section 28, and being a huge driver behind crucial gains like the Gender Reform Act and the legalisation of same-sex marriage.
Canterbury Pride was not without it's own political edge this year, either.
A series of high-profile and divisive tweets from MP Rosie Duffield sparked outrage on Twitter yesterday, with the Canterbury politician advocating for a 'gender critical' position that some have alleged would actually remove rights from transgender people.
Ms Duffield has stated that she supports trans rights and supports the LGBT community, despite substantial criticism from LGBTQ+ advocates.
Ms Duffield also failed to respond to a request for comment made by KentLive to clarify her position in August amidst criticism for liking twitter posts calling transgender people 'male predators', leading to accusations of her being transphobic.
It appears the Canterbury MP did not turn up to the celebrations this year.
Many on Twitter observed that her turning up to the event would be inappropriate given the recent controversies surrounding her views.