Foxwood Steel at Leeds Pride

A History of Prides

For me fighting an -ism star Ed way back with racism, brought to my attention as a child by my Welsh father (who felt he had to abandon his accent and his national identity in order to get on in England. I first met this ism in graphic reality in Blackburn, Lancashire, where I immediately volunteered and then worked for the Commission for Racial Equality.

Came to Leeds, then all the other isms fell into Head of Community Studies (PSE) at Foxwood School, I made sure that all my students had opportunities to think about the lot, and cutting down the long story to two events:

1, when Clause 28 reared its ugly head, we had a big management debate about “respecting the views of the in effect, homophobic parents. We lost this debate 8 to 7. I am proud to say that I ignored both this result and the law, and promoted homosexuality as a totally acceptable way of life and family life even more vigorously than before, and gave every student every opportunity to consider the opportunity. And, as music teacher, talked about Tchaikovsky etc.

Secondly I noted that quite a few of the (semi-openly) gay students gravitated to the steelband, and eventually asked the head of year to put any known gay student into my own tutor group.

Anyway, when we were first asked to play Leeds Pride (at Blayds in 2013) my heart just burst with it - pride that is. Everything is right about it. That we, as a country, have gone from Clause 28 to celebrating our sexual and gender differences, not just gay, but bi and trans and all the rest, well, glad I lived to see it, and was part of the campaign (if only in a small way) to achieve it.

Bex and Gig Pride 2013

First pic is a black and white grainy one of me and himself indoors marching in support of gay rights, it exactly a Pride at this point.

Then we were asked to march pan de neck for Fehmina’s firm. That year we were me, Mina, Daisy, Claudia, George, Vicky, Joe, Josie, x, and x

Foxwood marching proudly 2015

Next year we (me, Wanda, Lola, George) just went along, and played as people assembled but, not being attached to any official group, got kicked off the march. Lol We slithered our way through the crowds to Blayds, just making it in time to meet the rest of the band and play static. If we hadn’t got booted out, we would never have heard the sweet sounds of Paradise Steel Band playing in the Courtyard, and met and embraced StClair for the last time (as he, far too soon, died late that year).