Crawley Pride 2021: Highlighting and celebrating the LGBTQU+ community in Crawley

Hopefully, it will be third time lucky for Crawley Pride.

The new festival in town is due to take place on Saturday and Sunday, August 28 and 29 - subject to licensing consent and government advice.

Organisers Crawley LGBTQU+ have been trying to get it off the ground since 2019 but because of time and a global pandemic, it should finally be happening in 2021.

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The event - which is for the whole Crawley community - will see two days packed with drag acts, DJs and lots of special guests (which are to be announced), fairground rides, community stalls and lots of food.

Crawley LGBTQU+ and Pride co-directors and organisers Eva Andrews, Julie McAuley-Walker, Tom and Vincent Martin, Ben Ferris

The only thing that will be missing is a parade.

With the huge Brighton Pride being cancelled again, this will be one of the only Pride events in Sussex - and the only one in the north of the county.

And although it’s on a smaller scale than originally planned the organisers cannot wait.

Crawley LGBTQU+

Crawley LGBTQU+ co-director Ben Ferris said: “Managing people in a space like that is not easy when trying to manage Covid. We have reduced our numbers so it’s a slightly smaller event than we originally planned but other than that we are going ahead with the event.

“This is the third iteration of it trying to happen. It was the council’s idea originally, they got a couple of people on board but they decided to wait until 2020 to do it so we had more time to organise it, then Covid hit so we had to cancel it, so 2021 will hopefully be the first one.”

Crawley LGBTQU+ was set up as a business in March 2020 around the beginning of first lockdown so it’s given them time to set up the business.

“All you have is Brighton and London in terms of the closest ones, but for some people that is still quite a distance to travel, “ said Ben. “So it’s nice highlighting that community exists in Crawley and celebrating that.

“The business itself is acting as a sign-posting service. We are making connections with groups whether that be youth groups or Crawley Sexual Health etc and trying to make it as welcoming a community as we can for LGBT community and letting them know they have a community here.”

And how big is the LGBT community in Crawley?

“It’s lot bigger than most people think and realise,” says Ben. “The airport has a big LGBT community and we have noticed a lot of young people coming out over these lockdowns.

“We have seen quite a lot of interest and increase in people getting in touch with us recently. They are definitely there but there has never really been anything for the LGBT community in Crawley to be a part of. It’s there, it’s just not been visible, but now we are making it visible.”

And Ben and his colleagues can’t wait for the event to happen.

He said: “We want to have something at the end of the summer where it feels there is something for the community and we want everyone to pop along, especially to the free section, so they can support local businesses at their stalls and have a good time.

“It will be nice to celebrate a bit - especially after the year we have had.”

For more information on Crawley LGBTQU+ and to but tickets for Crawley Pride visit their website at www.crawleylgbt.comCrawley Pride event is subject to licensing consent and government advice