Excitement is building for the first Worthing Pride this week after LGBT+ staff working at West Sussex County Council raised the rainbow flag at Centenary House this morning.
The colourful flag representing all members of the LGBT+ community will be flying from the flagpole each day this week ahead of the very first WorthingPride getting underway on Saturday on the Promenade from 1pm.
The event is supporting West Sussex Coastal Mind and All Sorts youth project.
Chairman of the county council, Lionel Barnard, said: “Supporting Worthing Pride is something that the County Council is pleased to do. As Chairman I supported Brighton Pride right from the start and look at the heights that has reached.
“We all wish Worthing Pride success in its venture and are pleased to say we are flying the flag at Centenary House in Worthing to mark the first of many years’ events.”
Members of the county council’s LGBT+ staff group and firefighters from West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service will be taking part in the parade on Saturday.
Jane Moseley, the county council’s County Planning Team Manager, is leading the recently re-established LGBT+ staff group. She said: “Part of my personal goal in leading the group is to be visible – for people to know that LGBT+ people exist, we work alongside you and actually it’s not that big a deal – whatever our spouse’s gender, they can still be really irritating.
“The rainbow flag being raised on the flagpole at Centenary House is a small thing but it means a lot to those of us in the LGBT+ community. It means our employer recognises and supports us, which helps all of us to feel more comfortable being ourselves at work, and holding others to account when they challenge our right to be ourselves.
“We have come a long way in terms of acceptance of LGBT+ people, but we still have some way to go before we can say it is not an issue at all.
“We are really looking forward to taking part in the Worthing Pride parade this weekend, with the help of plenty of (eco)glitter, and having the flag flying all week in the run up to the big day is a wonderful way to celebrate all that is great about being LGBT+.”
Debbie Kennard, Cabinet Member for Safer, Stronger Communities, said: “I am very proud that the fire service has chosen to be a part of the Worthing Pride celebrations, and to send a powerful message to residents across the county on the importance of inclusion and diversity.
“It is absolutely fantastic to see the rainbow flag flying from Centenary House to raise awareness of the stigma that so many people around the world still face on a day-to-day basis just because of their sexuality.”