First MKPride is set to be a success

Iain Stewart
Iain Stewart

GAY MP Iain Stewart will proudly perform the opening ceremony when 2,000 people gather for the first MKPride event on Saturday.

Members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans and questioning community will wear rainbow colours and enjoy an afternoon of entertainment at Campbell Park.

Many of them will join a parade around the city centre organised by diversity celebration group Celebr8mk.

MKPride, which is supported by Milton Keynes Council, QAlliance and local parish councils, has been organised by 45-year-old Jo Green and her partner Tamara Smith.

“I only came out at the 
beginning of the year but I 
realised immediately there was something missing in Milton Keynes,” said Jo.

“There was Pink Punters, which is a brilliant meeting place, but there was nothing to bring the entire LGBTQ community together – nowhere where we could celebrate simply being ourselves.

“I couldn’t understand why their was not an MKPride event – so I set about organising one.”

Jo put up a forum on an 
Internet site, saying ‘Hello MK, is there anybody out there?’

The response took even her by surprise.“We’re expecting 2,000 people. That includes family, friends and supporters of the LGBTQ community. My own daughter will be there to support me, which is fantastic.”

Iain, when asked to open the event, agreed immediately.,

He has spoken in parliament about the exclusion he felt as a teenager and about how he was a target for homophobic taunts.

“I wasn’t physically bullied and the verbal bullying was mild and short -lived, but I was perceived to be different and it left deep scars. It was enough to make me feel isolated and introverted and it took me a very long time to overcome it,” he told the LGBT Tory Group.

Also speaking at MKPride is city anti-bullying campaigner Alex Holmes.

Other entertainment includes live music, drag queen acts – and even a drag king.

There will be a bar for adults and funfair rides and attractions for children.

A popular event is predicted to be a ‘fun’ dog show, where some pooches may even sport rainbow-dyed coats, said Jo.

MKPride starts at the main stage at 11am, and continues until 7pm.

Afterwards there will be an MKPride party at Pink Punters nightclub in Fenny Stratford.