A video featuring Proud2Be founders Mat and Jon Price interviewing the legendary human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell, surfaced on YouTube this week. The interview sees Peter open up about his work, his personal life and his vision of the future.
The interview follows the first ever Totnes Pride, launched last month (September 2013), which saw over 800 people coming from all over Devon & Cornwall, to celebrate the local lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans (LGBT) community.
Peter was guest of honour at the event, where he made a moving speech and took part in the live panel debate which addressed the need for more to be done in schools to ensure that ‘children grow up without the prejudices of the past’.
Peter said: “I was very proud to be a part of Totnes Pride. It was a great success, with a wonderful community atmosphere and double the numbers expected. Thanks to the Mayor and all the councillors who participated. I hope they’ll find ways to build on this success, with practical support for the local LGBT community. In particular, I urge the council to help challenge all prejudice by introducing Equality & Diversity lessons in local schools. Totnes without prejudice!”
Peter was joined by other leading LGBT figures including openly-gay deputy headteacher Shaun Dellenty and Elly Barnes, who topped the Independent newspaper’s Pink List, the rundown of the 250 most influential people in the LGBT community. Elly said: “It is brilliant to be part of a progressive and trailblazing day!”
The day had talks, forums, community art projects, workshops and a whole host of indoor community stalls. There was a children’s craft area, clay workshop room and a Wizard of Oz themed café serving much needed refreshments to attendees who could relax whilst reading through a host of LGBT literature.
Totnes-based Proud2Be was launched two years when gay identical twin brothers, Mat and Jon Price sat in front of their web cam and recorded a short video. In the video they explained how they are both proud to be gay.
“In truth we had been ashamed to be gay before that moment,” said Mat. “After years of messages from our school, church, the media and certain members of our family, that being gay was wrong, we had internalised those messages and started to believe them. Our mission is to encourage and support all LGBT people to be proud of who they are.”
Since its launch, Proud2Be has grown hugely and now holds monthly get togethers and other events across Totnes. The twins host the Proud2Be radio show which can be heard monthly on http://www.soundartradio.org.uk/ and are even planning on opening the first rural LGBT community hub in Devon, next year.
The organisation has also received the backing of some famous names among the LGBT community including Stephen Fry, Ian Mckellen, bestselling and award winning authors Sarah Waters & Andrew Solomon and Michael Cashman MEP who said: “I am happy to support such an inspiring LGBT organisation led by a dynamic duo!”
“Totnes Pride was a wonderful day for Totnes and South Devon,” said Jon. “
For us Totnes Pride was not only an opportunity for our community to get together and be proud but to also raise awareness and help educate the wider community. The success of the event has sent a clear message to LGBT people all over the country, that Totnes embraces us and celebrates our difference. We are so proud to be living here in Totnes and we are so grateful to Peter Tatchell for taking time out of his busy schedule to support the event and agree to be interviewed by two of his biggest fans!”
“We are overwhelmed with all the lovely feedback we have had already and would like to thank our committee, volunteers, partners, funders, sponsors and special guests for their outstanding contribution. Together we have worked tirelessly to ensure that Proud2Be Totnes Pride is an event we can all be extremely proud of.”
(from a press release)