The self-declared "world's smallest Pride parade" occurs next weekend in Batt Close, a housing development in the English town of Rugby.
The group of queers and allies, about 40 folks, will march for 80 meters, or about 260 feet, in colorful costumes and accessories. The locals call their celebration — its fourth annual — the world's smallest and shortest Pride parade.
"We may be small in size, but Pride Month is a big deal for us," Ben Goodwin, 38, says in a statement. "We’ve had several planning meetings and the excitement level for this year’s Pride is already sky high. I feel that everyone will be upping their game this year in terms of the outfits and accessories they will be wearing for the parade ... We are so lucky to live within a community that celebrates love in all its forms – creating a safe space where everyone can thrive and truly be themselves. On Batt Close, Pride truly begins at home, and we have bonded over our shared values of community, equality and inclusivity.
“However, we also recognise that here in the UK and around the world, life for LGBTQ+ people continues to be scary. With this in mind, it’s never been more important for us to come out and show our commitment to those who can’t celebrate Pride as freely as we do. I know that they’ll all be in our thoughts this weekend, and we hope to use our voices and speak up in solidarity with all members of our beautiful and diverse global community.”
American conservatives would be clutching their pearls at this very British celebration, where young people created rainbow crosswalks in chalk and locals hung rainbow flags and banners. Additionally, a Leicester-based drag performer, Miss Ruby V, will take part in Saturday's parade.
“I am thrilled and honoured to have been asked to lead the Batt Close Pride parade this year," Miss Ruby V says. "Times are tough for everyone at the moment, not least the LGBTQ+ community, but I know that nothing will stop the Batt Close residents from coming out and spreading their uplifting message for all to see.
“I love a good Pride parade but normally I need an ice bucket and a lie down after walking one in in my heels — so a procession at just 80 metres long is right up my street! However, I am under no illusions — it may be little, but I am expecting it to be just as fierce and fabulous as a larger Pride event.”
A high heel race will follow the parade, as will a multicultural buffet with international dishes served, along with a Pride-themed cake. A charity makeup event, where locals compete to glamming up one of their family members in "quick drag," will end with a victor and all proceeds going to Terrence Higgins Trust, the U.K.’s leading HIV and sexual health charity.
“I wish everyone could live on a street like ours and we would really encourage communities that can to host their own grassroots Pride celebrations," Goodwin states. "It’s a huge amount of fun but also spreads a positive message that goes much wider than your own postcode.”