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Unhappy Valley Pride

From Debra King

Tuesday, 25 July 2023

I used to enjoy Pride but not anymore in this gorgeous town called Hebden Bridge which I call my home.

Is it just me? or do other people feel left out, sidelined? 

There has been a shift from lesbian and gay rights to identity - whether that's kink, gender, trans , queer etc. I would like to see a proper mix of events on offer not just the gregarious.

But I am simply a straight-forward lesbian feminist: a female who has relationships with other females: same sex attracted. 

At other pride events if women have dared to say this they have been aggressively attacked, and called transphobic.

Which leads directly to feeling unsafe, emphasized by the "punch a terf in the face" call to action at a recent pride event. 

Will Happy Valley Pride speak up and denounce this violence against women? Loud and proud? I certainly hope so.

Transphobia threats are thrown around like it's confetti...to quickly silence, to shame, to demonise, to stop people speaking up for sex based rights. 

Will Happy Valley Pride begin to support the return of the feminists, and/or the gay men who simply are gay and not queer? to be inclusive again rather than display a world in the public arena that many of us don't inhabit. 

I would like to feel welcome and safe. 

From Anon 18

Wednesday, 26 July 2023

Totally agree with your post. 

I am sick to the back teeth of almost all prides being all about gender. Rarely do I see anything lesbian, gay or bisexuality related. It's all the Queer umbrella! Straight people feeling queer.

Pride no longer represents sexuality... how sad that as a lesbian, I feel unsafe.

I for one cannot wait for the downfall of stonewall who has stabbed the LGB society in the back...... and here's to LGB without the alphabet.

From Catherine Robinson

Wednesday, 26 July 2023

I love the original true spirit of celebration that gay and lesbian pride used to bring- a joyous story of love and resilience.

I'm not sure that what it has morphed into as the New Pride (one that centres identity politics and queer theory), and has an interest promoting sexuality and gender identity to children - is quite the same thing anymore?

If the adverts promising drag queens and Peter Tatchell are anything to go by I wouldn't say this is 'family friendly' entertainment. 

New Pride's usual presence of adults in drag (which is fine as adult entertainment and in adult settings), with fetishists and furries seems to spark what would have years ago, to any sensible adult, an alarm. 
Perhaps those championing this haven't done their homework in their rush to get behind the inclusive tag that Pride flies. Centring adult sexuality over age appropriate content on the streets appears to be what adults do these days. 

So I ask myself - Who is Pride really for now?

Is it really for the adults who continue to enjoy their rights to same sex relationships? I wish it was. As Debra says above - these folk seem to not be welcome in many Pride events due to the increasing insistence that homosexuality is 'bigotry' or 'genital preferences' and as such are a form of bigotry against trans folk - instead of the long fought for sexual rights. 

Is it for the young gay and lesbians in our community? I do wonder how a young lesbian or a young gay boy feel when they hear their sexuality is wrongfully directed to same sex attraction and not same gender in the eyes of TQ. I had hoped gay conversion therapy has ended. 

How do young gay and lesbian kids, and their friends who join the struggle to express their fledging personalities find the stereotypes on offer? 

Can a girl or a boy still not be 'born in the wrong body' if they wear the clothes of the opposite sex or express gender non conformity without being summoned for their pronoun badge? Are these kids included if they don't submit?

And for all the young kids who heaven forbid haven't been sexualised yet - will this messaging really be age appropriate for children ? Can we expect leather or fur clad men in 'pup play'? 

When we promote inclusive events we walk a line between adult needs and children's safeguarding. 

Do all those attending give a cursory thought to how their costume or conduct affects kids? Does anything go ? Or are their limits to how adults can behave when around kids and wearing bright colours? 

Perhaps such a public show needs an age rating, and the small print state that it is not suitable for the gay men and lesbians who support same sex attraction, and gender critical people. 

Not everyone bows down, nor should, to the seemingly unquestionable colourful high priests of queer theory. For these people a safe and inclusive space doesn't seem to be on offer.

From Jan Evans

Thursday, 27 July 2023

As a woman and straight feminist, I accept all colours, creeds and sexualities of any culture in any nation. I'm not interested in what you do when or with whom.

What I will never accept is this absurd, prejudicial and discriminatory nonsense that some among the 'Pride/Trans community adhere to. They are in fact displaying rather disturbing behaviours that mirror those of the 1970s! Cancel culture for starters - what on earth does that mean to them?

I've been shut down by the Patriarchy and elite institutions for half a life-time - it ain't over yet! I suspect that many of these young people are as confused as the rest of us in wondering what kind of reality they are living in. It's disturbing and terribly sad and not a little surreal but is very, very unhealthy. Calderdale should not be pandering to this narrow and discriminatory populist - and unhealthy narrative. But Hey, Ho . . .

From Anon 8

Friday, 28 July 2023

I agree with Debra. I no longer feel welcomed by Happy Valley Pride as a same sex attracted woman. I have lived in this town for many years and it saddens me to say this.

Happy Valley Pride seem to only want to celebrate all things queer, trans and non binary. Lesbians, gay men and bisexuals rarely get a mention. It's currently Pride week in Hebden Bridge. Can you believe Happy Valley Pride's brochure promoting the festival doesn't even have the word lesbian in it?!  It reminds me of the extreme right, "don't say gay" bill in Florida. HVP are eliminating our language and eliminating same sex attraction. 

Many lesbians of my generation do not feel comfortable with the ubiquitous term 'queer' to describe their sexuality. I grew up in a time when kids who were called queer regularly had their heads kicked in. The word is a slur and I don't feel compelled to reclaim it. It's a word mostly for the youth so Happy Valley Pride's obsession with this umbrella term makes me and many others feel ostracised. 

Happy Valley Pride's social media is awash with all things trans. Lesbian visibility week barely got a mention and in their solitary post, it specified all lesbians ie. men who identify as women.  So we can't even have our own day to be celebrated as same sex attracted Women?

Stonewall have publicly stated that lesbians should accept trans women in their dating pool (bearing in mind most trans women have had no surgery and don't take hormones). Shockingly, Nancy Kelley the former head of Stonewall called same sex attracted lesbians 'sexual racists' for rejecting trans women (ie, biological men with male genitalia) as sexual partners. This is the epitome of homophobia and as someone who has struggled and fought to be a lesbian I find this deeply distressing. Happy Valley Pride are very keen to push the L with the T (lesbian with the trans). One of their nights at the pride festival is dedicated to this, so it wouldn't be unreasonable to assume Happy Valley Pride take Stonewall's position. 

I'd like to think those at Happy Valley Pride might read these messages and listen to the genuine concerns and upset of local lesbians, gay men and bisexual people who are unhappy, and there are many of us. The sad reality is they demonstrate that they have no interest in listening to the valid concerns of same sex attracted people.  All I'd like is for all members of our community to be represented. 

I urge anyone reading this to take note of Happy Valley Pride. Look at their social media/messaging with fresh eyes and see how poorly they represent the lesbians, gay men and bisexuals in this town. 

Same sex attraction is not hate. 

From Maz Purtell

Friday, 28 July 2023

I agree with Debra, and other contributors. Happy Valley Pride has a divisive presence in the Upper Valley. Yes it has its supporters, and has the ear of funding bodies, but it has many detractors and, I believe, it has a seriously silencing effect on people who do not agree with its stance on gender identity ideology, or its support for Queer Theory.

Any dissent from the 'official position' is immediately labelled as bigotry. Critical, or even mildly curious responses on their social media threads, are often immediately removed or do not appear in the first place.

What's worse about this situation, is Happy Valley Pride appears to control the management of the Town Hall, which continually expresses support for Happy Valley Pride despite many complaints from other citizens - whether that be about recent art displays or contested use of CCTV footage (which is an ongoing police matter). There is no doubt that Happy Valley Pride totally holds sway over Hebden Bridge Community Association.

Increasing numbers of lesbians, (and more latterly gay men) are speaking out about their objections to Happy Valley Pride supposedly representing us. We are same-sex attracted people. The extremes of the TQplus part of the rainbow alphabet have nothing to do with us.

As gay people, we used to have one day a year where we protested unjust laws and celebrated who we are. HVP and similar organisations, have now become corporate entities, pumping out propaganda all year round with such grifts as "Aromantic awareness Day". Totally diminishing the seriousness of our historic struggles.

There is no doubt in my mind that this is akin to a new state religion where one is obliged to pledge allegiance. What about the rights of disabled people, the rights of older people, the rights of homeless people? Why so much attention on one group of people? It's bizarre, and ordinary folk in the community are sick to the back teeth with it.

From Debra King

Tuesday, 1 August 2023

I am totally fed up and annoyed by the Happy Valley Pride organisation. You might think that having been alerted to the fact that people on this thread has stated that they do not feel safe, welcome or included, they might reach out and want to speak to the people they exclude. But no they double down on repeating the words "inclusivity" "inclusivity" as if repeating this mantra makes it true. You might think they would publicly denounce violence against women to support us, even that might mitigate the shouting of "smash a terf" in the face of a call to action at Pride march recently. But no... That hasn't happened.

Instead happy valley pride has remained silence in an attempt to silence anyone who dares to speak up and disagree with what their organisation is doing, ironically creating more and more division by not engaging, by maintaining the cancel culture, the no debate culture. It's frightening how much power and influence this business has and they still say "inclusive". Open up the dialogue then. What is there to be afraid of? The excluded have not threatened or been abusive to your tribe. There is simply a difference of opinion.

From Ruth Mellor

Saturday, 5 August 2023

Hebden Bridge has become a totalitarian state for 'Queer' politics. Same sex attracted people feel ostracised and unwelcome. The last time I attended 'Happy Valley Pride' I felt intimidated and was stared at by Trans folk who obviously felt myself and my wife did not belong. I have not set foot in a pride event since.The books we want to read are even hidden away in our libraries. A very sorry state of affairs.

From Vivienne

Saturday, 12 August 2023

Anon 8, who bemoans the omission of the word "lesbian" from Pride leaflets, has perhaps not heard the new definition of that word, produced by Johns Hopkins university in the USA. A lesbian is now a "non-male attracted to a non-male".

I support the right of trans-persons to live comfortably, being respected and offered the same access to participation in society as any other group. But their rights do not include exclusive ownership of the word "woman"; young lesbians who want to sleep with born-women are not "sexual racists" if they don't wish to sleep with people with male genitalia; and despite the current ideology, there is a significant difference between sex and gender. To abandon that distinction would be to lose the sex-based women's rights we struggled so hard, & for so long, to establish.

Please read: These issues provoke strong feelings. To help move the discussion along, please avoid abuse, provocative language, follow the forum guidelines and try to keep to the issues. Many thanks. Ed