West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) is celebrating the diversity of the region’s communities in the lead up to Birmingham Pride 2019.
The UK’s largest two-day LGBTQ festival takes place on Saturday 25 and Sunday 26 May in Birmingham city centre, and is expected to attract more than 75,000 people.
To kick off a month of celebrations in the lead up to Birmingham Pride weekend, a West Midlands Network bus shelter in Smallbrook Queensway has been painted in the Pride rainbow branding, and Pride branded bus stop flags and wayfinding totems have been installed in key locations. All this has been done for free by the WMCA’s suppliers.
National Express West Midlands, the region’s largest bus operator, has again painted one of its buses in the Pride rainbow colours. The colourful double decker will be operating on routes right across the region in the lead up to Birmingham Pride weekend. It will then go into the Pride parade, with a number of National Express employees walking alongside.
The WMCA will also have a bus and staff taking part in the huge parade, which starts at Victoria Square in Birmingham.
Mayor of the West Midlands Andy Street will be opening the event for the second year running.
He said: “We are committed to improving the quality of life for all our communities across the West Midlands. Everyone should feel safe to be themselves, without experiencing prejudice or discrimination.
“I am very honoured to be opening Birmingham Pride 2019 and I look forward to a fantastic weekend of celebration.
“I’d encourage everyone visiting the city for the event to use public transport and plan their journey using the Network West Midlands website – wherever you’re travelling from, you’ll be able to find the option that’s right for you.”
James Donnan, head of corporate communications at National Express, said: “We are really proud to have such a diverse workforce at National Express and we’re delighted to be taking part in the Birmingham Pride parade for the seventh year.
“Our specially wrapped rainbow bus has just had its finishing touches completed so we’re excited to launch it on our network to serve our local communities in the lead up to the Birmingham Pride parade.”
Lawrence Barton, Birmingham Pride festival director, said: “We are delighted that our public transport partners are showing their support for Pride in such a prominent way. With thousands of people attending the Pride festival, we encourage them to use public transport to get to and from the event safely.”
James Wharton, wellbeing services manager at Birmingham LGBT Centre, said: “We welcome the increased visibility of rainbow decorated bus stops and buses in and around Birmingham to celebrate Pride. The move is timely, and will offer an inclusive reassurance to LGBTQ communities visiting the city for the occasion of Pride, and to those who live, work and thrive here.”
Birmingham Pride has taken place for more than 20 years, and in the last five years it has raised more than £300,000 for local community groups. It is a not-for-profit organisation, and profits raised go to local LGBTQ charities and projects.
The event starts with a parade from Birmingham city centre to the Gay Village in Hurst Street, where a festival site will host music acts, a dance arena, a funfair, a cabaret and stalls.
To plan your journey over the weekend of Birmingham Pride, visit www.networkwestmidlands.com
Photo from L-R Rinku Banerjee from the WMCA, Thomas Moore from Transport for West Midlands, Lawrence Barton from Birmingham Pride, Martin Price from the WMCA, Mayor of the West Midlands Andy Street, Adrienne Frances and James Wharton from Birmingham LGBT and James Donnan and Bashir Khan from National Express West Midlands