When you think of Pride celebrations, you normally think of London, Brighton, Manchester, Madrid etc. You probably don’t think of the Channel islands. Why is that? Oh, maybe because until last week they’d never had one!
On Friday 11th of September, the Sex Shells, a band of comedic miscreants including yours truly, flew to Jersey for the first-ever Channel Islands Pride. After a few drinks, possibly illegal car journeys and last minute rehearsals, we arrived at a charming pub named the Green Rooster, (Minden Place, JE2 4WQ) to open the proceedings with a foul-mouthed show that left most of the audience horrified, bewildered and mildly amused. With that, the inaugural Channel Islands Pride had begun.
Organised by Christian May and the team at inclusive charity, Liberate under the #HausofLiberate moniker, this Pride was clearly a labour of love for a group who had fought long and hard to bring equality to their island home. The following day, we boarded a rainbow bus at West’s Centre and set off through the streets of St Helier, to Weighbridge Square where a bevy of acts, including home-grown talent Bother, headliner Heather Peace, Shirley Bassey impersonator Paula Randell and some very handsome young singers were ready to entertain an expected crowd of a thousand revellers on the main stage.
As it turned out, they were actually performing to a crowd of roughly three thousand. In a truly heartwarming display of support for equality, the Channel Island’s LGBTQI+ community and their friends turned out in droves. All there to celebrate each other, enjoy the beautiful weather and take part in the host of festivities put together by their organizers, Liberate.
The year’s theme of Proud and Free was perfect, as everyone from twinks, to hunks, to bears, dads, blokes, delightful drag queens, lovely lesbians, supportive parents, fabulous friends and more swarmed the Weighbridge Square, listening to rousing and inspiring speeches from Heather Peace and Christian May.
Of course no Pride celebration would be complete without a bit of partying, which Shameless at Ce Soir (10 Caledonia Place, Weighbridge, St Helier JE2 3NG) was more than happy to provide. It’s not a stretch to say the Sex Shells embraced and disgraced the island of Jersey in equal measure, during a party that rivalled some of the biggest Pride bashes we’ve ever seen. All we’re saying is that tequila is lethal and STAY OUT OF THAT BOUDOIR!
Thank you Jersey, for having us, for showing your colours and for putting on a truly wonderful Pride event. Here’s to next year!
To find out more about Channel Islands Pride, go to www.liberate.je