Pierrette Squires

Over the past 5years Bolton has undergone a huge change, from no LGBT visibility in town at all pre 2015 to regularly seeing not only rainbow flags but same sex couples holding hands, Bolton now has a connected visible LGBT community. As a Bisexual person who was initially so shocked by the homophobic language I heard in Bolton when I arrived here 15years ago that I didn’t come out to anyone I met here I now feel confident to walk around with a Bi flag or give a tour of the museum wearing rainbows. 

The initial Bolton Pride launch event with Sir Ian McKellen was brilliant and left us all inspired to make a change. 

For the first Bolton Pride Marketplace in 2015 I helped to run the Biphoria stall, Pride was indoors in the Holiday Inn tucked safely away from potential verbal abuse and while small felt exciting to be seeing an inclusive event happening in Bolton. That first weekend I got the impression most of the people who came and took leaflets & made connections at stalls were people who already identified as LGBT and had some awareness of events.

Over the next couple of years Pride got bigger and braver with increasing presence in Bolton town centre. Hate crime prevention & awareness was a theme of all of the Prides so far, a very different focus to some of the huge commercial Prides. 

As the event has moved into town I’ve continued to run stalls and walk in the Pride parades. I have noticed a significant change in the people coming to take information from stalls and ask questions. Initially mostly adults who came with their friends we are now seeing more families and young people asking for information to support their friends and relatives - it’s uplifting to see a network of supportive allies developing. 

I’m looking forward to celebrating Bolton Prides 5th Birthday this Autumn.