Pembrokeshire Pride: LGBTQ+ community countdown to three-day festival

·3-min read
Joshua Beynon
Joshua Beynon

Joshua Beynon speaks with a measured passion about an issue which is causing increased anxiety throughout Pembrokeshire’s LGBTQ+ community.

As the county’s hate crime figures reach an all-time high, more and more people are feeling isolated in their struggle to combat the ever-increasing hatred that’s being displayed towards them.

Now, Joshua is using Pride month as a lynchpin to set up a Pembrokeshire Pride community group which will assist the LGBTQ+ community to confront, share and tackle its anxieties and fears.

“There are lots of people out there who have the cards well and truly stacked up against them,” said Joshua from his home in Pembroke Dock.

“There have been times in my life when I’ve had to seek the help of a counsellor to help tackle my anxiety levels but I was fortunate in that I’ve always had the full support of my family and friends. I also have a reasonably high level of resilience.

"But there are lots of people out there who aren’t in this position. They need all the support they can get which is why it’s imperative to get the Pembrokeshire Pride Community Group up and running.”

Pembrokeshire Pride is being launched next month with a weekend festival in Milford Haven.

Joshua then wants to interact with individuals to find out how the group should subsequently develop; it is hoped that a designated space will be found where people can meet regularly in a welcome and safe environment.

Joshua, who is employed as a primary care manager in north Ceredigion, decided to come out when he was 19 year old.

“I suppose I was quite young but what made thing even more challenging was the fact that I’d already been elected onto Pembrokeshire County Council,” he explains.

“As a result, whatever I attempted to do and whatever I was quoted as saying, people would constantly bring up my sexuality. This motivated me to do something about it and clap back.”

But eventually Joshua decided to speak to the police.

“When you keep hearing derogatory comments you get used to it, but there comes a point when you don’t want to take any more," he said.

"But when I reported it, there appeared to be a lack of understanding.

"Yes, I was only reporting one particular comment, but that comment had been made to me many, many times before.

“We have to ask ourselves ‘Why are more and more young people choosing to leave Pembrokeshire?’ Could it be because they don’t feel welcome or tolerated?”

Pembrokeshire Pride takes place in Milford Haven on July 14, 15 and 16 and opens with the enigmatic drag artist Miss Kitty who will be performing in the Boulevard Showbar.

The following day, July 15, Karin Bello takes to the stage with her Tina Turner tribute act and on July 16, the Boulevard welcomes the X-Factor’s Jaymi Hansley and Union J. There will also be a family fun event in the Boulevard Car Park on Saturday, July 16.

“And this is the whole purpose of Pride,” added Joshua. “It’s there for everyone.

“I get messages from parents whose children have just identified as LGBTQ+ and also from schools who ask my advice in helping pupils who are struggling.

"The battle can always be there. And this is why networks such as Pembrokeshire Pride are invaluable.”

If anyone would like to find out more about Pembrokeshire Pride they can visit the Facebook site Pembrokeshire Pride or email hello@pembrokeshirepride.com

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