TUNBRIDGE WELLS is set to host its first Pride event next month, putting it on a par with other towns such as Brighton, Canterbury and Margate.
Taking place on August 20, the event has been organised by a committee made up of members of the town’s Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Queer Plus (LGBTQ+) community, and is headed by 27-year-old Jazz Alexander.
A manager at The George Pub where the march is due to begin, Ms Alexander said it is time for the town to ‘move into the future’ and get rid of its reputation for being ‘stuck up’.
“I had been thinking of organising the event for a while and I know many other people have been wanting one so this year I decided to do it.
“I asked my boss Jason Dormon, who also runs The Forum, if we could use his venues and he very politely said ‘yes’.”
Admitting she has no idea how it will pan out, Ms Alexander is hoping a few hundred people will join the party that is set to run from noon until 11pm at The Forum.
The march from The George to The Forum is of an unofficial manner, and the roads are not set to be closed by the council to allow it to go ahead. But Ms Alexander said herself and members of the committee will nonetheless fly the flag for the LGBTQ+ community on their way through the town.
“As it is the first year it is a little like treading water and we do not know what to expect. But there has been a lot of interest online.
“Tunbridge Wells has quite a vibrant Gay and Lesbian community and the younger generations are very open about it,” she said.
If it proves popular, she will look at making it a more permanent fixture of the social calendar. A family friendly party will take place at The Forum from 1pm, with live music and DJs. From 7pm the party is to become strictly over 18s.
Ms Alexander wanted to emphasise that everyone, whatever sexual orientation, is welcome to join.
“Hopefully this event will help raise awareness of the community. After all, we are all people and everyone deserves love,” she added.