Gallery: People gather for first gay Pride event

PEOPLE gathered in Ipswich's Christchurch Park to celebrate their diverse sexuality.

Richard Cornwell

PEOPLE gathered in Ipswich's Christchurch Park to celebrate their diverse sexuality.

It was the county's first ever Pride event and to mark the occasion organisers arranged an audio link to the Stonewall Inn in New York in recognition of the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall riots of 1969, which heralded the birth of the Gay Liberation Movement.

Similar events have been held in London, Manchester, Brighton, Cambridge, Norfolk and numerous other towns and cities across the world.

Yesterday afternoon's event in the park attracted good-sized crowds, sitting around on the grass in groups enjoying picnics and chatting, listening to the music, and visiting the stands.

The event featured live on-stage music performances, an entertainment tent, food and drink, commercial stalls and a youth tent.

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There were also a number of organisations, including Suffolk County Council, in a community tent, with officers from a whole range of council services giving out advice and information on topics from trading standards and recycling to social inclusion and diversity.

The afternoon was organised by the council together with Suffolk Gay and Lesbian Helpline, Suffolk Constabulary and a team of dedicated volunteers from the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community.

Councillor Rosemary Clarke, portfolio holder for sport, culture, diversity, health and wellbeing, said: “I am really pleased to be supporting Suffolk's first ever Pride event.

“It is a perfect opportunity to celebrate the diversity of people in Suffolk, and enjoy a great day out together.”

What did you think of the event? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.

The Stonewall riots were violent demonstrations against a police raid in the early hours of June 28, 1969 at the Stonewall Inn where gay people gathered in the Greenwich Village area of New York.

The riots continued for more than three nights and are cited as the start of the worldwide Gay Liberation Movement.

It was believed to be the first time in American history when people in the homosexual community had fought back against a government-sponsored system that persecuted sexual minorities.

After the riots, Greenwich Village residents launched activist groups to set up places for gays and lesbians to be open about their sexual orientation without fear of being arrested.