The theme of this year’s Happy Valley Pride Festival, taking place in Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire from 7 to 13 July, is LGBTQ Heroes.
From artwork being produced by local primary school children to a full programme of diverse entertainment throughout the week, we’re celebrating our heroes. This can be anyone from a family member to a celebrity.
As one of the festival’s volunteers, I was asked a few months ago to nominate my hero. It was a tough choice to only name one. But the name that immediately came to mind was, who else, Lee Lynch. Anyone who has been following my blog will know that this person was likely to be my first choice. I wrote a few words to explain why I chose Lee.
“She may not be a well known name in the UK, but Lee Lynch is a writer whose syndicated column, The Amazon Trail, was published in many newspapers across America. A collection of these columns in a book titled, An American Queer, spans four decades of her writing life. Lee has also written novels and the themes of these go back to growing up in 1950s/60s America and what it was like for young LGBTQ people finding their way in a hostile world.”
Happy Valley Pride was also able to get a tree to decorate in the town as part of the Hebden Bridge Arts Festival.
We had great fun decorating it under David Kennedy’s artistic direction. All the names contributed so far have been written up on a postcard and the card laminated. The decorative umbrellas and cards are now hanging from the tree, with more cards being added all the time. If you want to nominate your own hero, just visit the Happy Valley website or Facebook page.
As we were decorating the tree last Monday a lot of folks stopped by to ask what it was about. Some even wrote out their own postcards to be added. Many people took photos. It is a very photogenic tree.
And if you’re in the area on Tuesday 27 June, from about 7:30pm, we’re having a tree launch…by the tree to mark an historical moment and remember our LGBTQ Heroes:
“On 27 June 1969 began the Stonewall riot. This pivotal moment became the turning point of the modern gay rights movement. Let’s mark this date with an evening of peaceful reflection and a moment to remember those individuals who you personally feel have made a difference to the perception and acceptance of LGBTQ lives.”
A time for celebration and commemoration…Be Here, Be You, Be Proud!
The Starling Hill Trilogy: