Arfon AM calls for a greater respect of difference for LGBT History Month


As we near the end of LGBT History Month – an opportunity to celebrate the gay and transsexual community and to remember those who fought for the rights of that community – Arfon AM Siân Gwenllian is encouraging those interested in the history and culture of the LGBT community to go along to a special event in Pontio this Saturday.

One of the organisers of Saturday’s event is Carwyn Humphreys, chairman of North Wales Pride.

“This is a very important date in our calendar as a community because there is such a lack of similar events in this part of Wales,” said Carwyn Humphreys. “All the budget cuts we are seeing means that there is a lack of services for the LGBT community and because of the geographical nature of north west Wales it can be difficult for people to get together and support each other. We’re very fortunate that Gisda in Caernarfon have started a weekly LGBT Youth Club. They have about 15 members who attend regularly which is a fantastic thing for the area.”

Pontio have got together with Gisda, Unity and North Wales Pride to put on a special day of films and stalls in order to mark this important month. The film ‘Pride’ will be shown and there will be guest speakers introducing some of the films, including a member of the LGSM group (Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners).

Said Siân Gwenllian, “There was a very strong connection between members of the gay and lesbian community in the towns and cities of England who were fighting for the rights of their community and the miners and their supporters who were fighting equally hard for their rights here in Wales. I went to meet members of the LGFM group at the time, and it will be great to see Bangor welcoming them this Saturday. The LGBT History Month is a very important time when people can get together in this part of Wales where the community is very scattered and finds it difficult to meet up regularly. It is also a chance to note that members of the LGBT community are still victims of homophobia and prejudice despite us living in what is supposedly a more enlightened age. This saddens me a great deal as Shadow Equality Secretary and I very much hope that the event on Saturday will remind people that we should always be respectful of differences within our community.”

“We want to give our community a platform so that people can meet each other and perhaps find other groups or services that they could attend,” said Carwyn Humphreys of North Wales Pride. “Unfortunately there isn’t much happening this side of Llandudno but hopefully connections can be made between people on Saturday. It can be very difficult for a young gay person in rural north Wales because the communities are so close-knit with everyone knowing everyone else and are not always very kind about gay people. I’m from Penygroes and I was lucky to have supportive family and friends, but not everyone is so fortunate.”

The organisers hope that the event in Pontio will attract interest from across north west Wales and that it may even inspire future events.

Said Siân Gwenllian, “The Bangor event will be a way of celebrating the LGBT community and its culture, people will get the opportunity to make friends and to enjoy films that are especially relevant to the community. It will also be an opportunity to remember those who fought so hard for the rights of people who suffered great prejudice – and who still suffer prejudice today, unfortunately – and to remind people who are not part of the community that we need to be respectful of difference and turn our backs on prejudice.”

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