“The theme of this year’s Pride is flowers,” said Becki Blackwood, the new Chair of Suffolk Pride. “Perhaps we’re sometimes seen as weeds, but we've always been here. We’re thriving and we’re getting on - you can’t get rid of us.” 

Born and bred in Ipswich, Becki has been in her role as Chair for just under three months, but is nevertheless knee-deep in planning for this year’s Pride. 

Suffolk Pride 2023 differs somewhat from previous celebrations. Rather than the traditional march along the Ipswich waterfront, this year there will be several different events happening around Suffolk in a Pride ‘fringe festival’. 

However, just because there is no parade this year, the LGBTQ+ community still needs people, organisations and businesses to show their support.  

Ipswich Star: A poster with a QR code to all Suffolk Pride's fringe events for 2023. Image: Suffolk PrideA poster with a QR code to all Suffolk Pride's fringe events for 2023. Image: Suffolk Pride (Image: Suffolk Pride)

“We walked through town the weekend before last and the rainbows are severely lacking,” said Becki. "It means so much to us to see a rainbow in a shop or on a poster. There’s that element of 'I feel seen, I feel heard, I feel acknowledged'.” 

Suffolk Pride is hoping that these smaller fringe events can keep the momentum of Pride going, and ensure that Ipswich and the whole of Suffolk is a welcoming and inclusive place for LGBTQ+ people all year round, and not just during the summer months. 

The fringe festival will begin on June 30 with ‘Pride Blooms’ at 7pm on the Ipswich Cornhill. With guest speakers, this is a vigil to commemorate hardships still suffered by the LGBTQ+ community. Participants are invited to bring along flowers, flags and protest signs (with a craft event beforehand at Ipswich County Library).  

The vigil will conclude with a march through the town centre. 

Later in the month, there will be a Youth Takeover at The Hold, and a Wellbeing Walk through Felixstowe on July 30. 

"You can do Pride however you want this year," said Becki. "It's not just one big day, where you might get exhauseted or overwhelmed.

"If we run Pride like this again next year, we hope to have even more events."

To view the Pride calendar of events, visit www.suffolkpride.org.uk and select ‘What’s On’