Eastbourne could hold its own version of Gay Pride next year if the revival of a group goes well.
Bourne Out LGBT social group is being relaunched next month to promote lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights in Eastbourne and the surrounding area as well as help break down barriers.
The revival is being spearheaded by new trustees Betty Gallacher who has taken on the role of chairperson and Xian Rodgers as treasurer.
The first meeting will be on Saturday February 6 at the Archery Centre in Seaside at midday.
Betty, also known as Scotty and who has more than 40 years promoting and fighting for LGBT rights as a trade union rep, said there were still barriers to be broken down which are encountered by people identifying themselves as LGBT.
“This,” said Betty, “includes those not only living in the local vicinity but also working or visiting.
“Bourne Out has been silent and I want to revive it and reach out to everyone. People need to have somewhere to go for help and advice; for the lonely, the vulnerable to have a shoulder to lean on.
“We welcome and support all members of society who identify themselves as LGBT regardless of age, gender, status, religion or sexual orientation.
“We also welcome friends of LGBT members as guests. Naturally and by default, this means we will not condone or tolerate any form of discrimination, harassment or bullying either between or to our members and will deal with such occurrences appropriately.”
Betty said Eastbourne and the surrounding area is hugely under-represented in the LGBT community.
“The most recent census shows that almost 2,000 people in Eastbourne identified themselves as being LGBT and we know that this is likely to be an underestimate of the true figure,” said Betty.
“There is little for LGBT persons to do in Eastbourne whether they be 18 or 80 and this is something that we can change if we all work together.
“We aim to work in conjunction with other groups and organisations in the local area to help promote LGBT rights and challenge barriers such as Eastbourne Borough Council, Sussex Police, Eastbourne Rainbow, the Terence Higgins Trust and Stonewall.”
February sees the LGBT History Month and Bourne Out has organised the Archery event, sponsored by Eastbourne council, and there will be inspirational speakers including Siobhan Endean, the national officer for equalities at Unite and Phyllis Opuku, the creator of Black Pride UK.
Plans are also in the pipeline for Eastbourne to hold its own Pride 2017.
“We intend to have our first Pride in 2017,” said Betty. “We hope people will view and actively support the Bourne Out group and the ethos behind us.”
For more information on Bourne Out LGBT visit http://www.meetup.com/Bourne-Out-LGBT/
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