Proud Suffolk to publish Pride stories

Proud Suffolk is a writing project that offers the chance for anyone to publish their stories and experiences from the LGBTQA+ community. This project celebrates the LGBTQA+ communities inviting them to have their voices be heard to promote understanding and acceptance across the county.  

Proud Suffolk is part of Suffolk Libraries’ youth arts programme, BLOC, which stands for ‘Building Libraries on Creativity’, supported by Arts Council England. 

Melissa Matthews, Creative Programmes Manager at Suffolk Libraries, explains:  “Proud Suffolk is a creative writing project, sharing the stories and experiences of the LGBTQA+ community to promote acceptance across the county. Writings can be anything our authors want. Whether it is a haiku about your first love, a poem or a short story about coming out. We want to hear the voices and experiences of Suffolk.” 

This year will be the first Suffolk Pride since 2014 and has been championed by many local organisations including Suffolk Libraries, the University of Suffolk, Ipswich Borough Council and Suffolk County Council. This year also marks the 50th anniversary the Stonewall Riots in New York City 1969, which proved to be pivotal for gay activism and the LGBTQA+ community. 

According to Stonewall research: 

  • The LGBTQ+ population is estimated to be between 2.10 – 2.95 million people in England and Wales. 
  • Nearly half (45 per cent) of LGBTQA+ pupils – including 64 per cent of trans pupils – are bullied for being LGBTQA+ in Britain’s schools.  
  • Half of LGBTQA+ pupils hear homophobic slurs ‘frequently’ or ‘often’ at school.  
  • Half of lesbian, gay and bi people (46 per cent) and trans people (47 per cent) feel able to be open about their sexual orientation and/or gender identity to their whole family. 

This research shows that often the LGBTQA+ community do not always feel their environment is inclusive and accepting of their sexuality or gender identity.

However, Melissa believes that “libraries belong to their communities. Our involvement in Pride shows that Suffolk Libraries are inclusive and safe spaces for everyone, no matter their age, gender, heritage or sexuality.” 

In the run-up to Suffolk Pride, Suffolk Libraries have been hosting various events to celebrate inclusivity and acceptance. Pantomime Dame and Storyteller Mama G has delivered children’s Storytimes about ‘being who you are and loving who you want’ at many of libraries in Suffolk and is an advocate of Suffolk Pride and the library service. She states: 

“Suffolk Libraries have been so welcoming, so inviting, it’s like walking into a big hug! All the librarians are so enthusiastic and I’ve seen all sorts of families of all sorts of shapes, sizes and varieties bringing their children to use these spaces. It just warms my heart.” 

Mama G will be telling a special Storytime at Ipswich County Library on the day of the Suffolk Pride Parade at 10:30am. 

Suffolk Libraries have also collated reading lists that cover a range of LGBTQA+ subjects which can be accessed from their website. For more information, visit the Suffolk Pride page on the Suffolk Libraries website. 

See a full list of our Pride events below: 

13th June, 4:30pm – Thurston Library – Storytime with Mama G 

Children aged 3+ and their families are invited to think, laugh and love with the fabulous Mama G. Enjoy uplifting stories about being who you are and loving who you choose with the magic of panto. Meet confused unicorns, feuding fairies, a champion twerker, an alien called Alan and more! 

15th June, 10:45am – Lowestoft Library – Saturday Fun: Storytime and crafts with Mama G 

Children aged 3+ and their families are invited to join us in our regular Saturday Fun slot for a super special storytime with the fabulous Mama G. Enjoy uplifting stories about being who you are and loving who you choose with the magic of panto, and make some crafts too! This event is free, but please contact the library to book in advance to avoid disappointment. 

21st June, 7pm – Chantry Library – Quiz night for Suffolk Pride 

Teams of 6 are invited to join us for a fun quiz and raffle. Support Suffolk Pride and enjoy a performance from singer Gracie-Lou. If you don’t have a team, come along anyway and you’ll be matched up on the night.  Contact the library to book in advance. 

22nd June, 12pm – Gainsborough Community Library – Stories, games and crafts for Pride 

Bring a picnic to Landseer Park and listen to some incredible stories about acceptance from 12pm. There will also be cricket, rounders, giant parachute games, chess, draughts and crafts to get you chatting and making new friends. 

22nd June, 10:30am – Ipswich County Library – Storytime with Mama G 

Children aged 3+ and their families are invited for a super special storytime with the fabulous Mama G ahead of the Suffolk Pride Parade (starts 12pm at DanceEast). Enjoy uplifting stories about being who you are and loving who you choose with the magic of panto. 

22nd June, 1:30pm – Ipswich County Library – Storytime with Mama G 

Children aged 3+ and their families are invited for a super special storytime with the fabulous Mama G. Enjoy uplifting stories about being who you are and loving who you choose with the magic of panto. 

22nd June 2019, 5pm – University of Suffolk, Poetry Stage, Waterfront Building – Bedtime stories with Mama G

Children aged 3+ and their families are invited to the University of Suffolk on the Poetry Stage for a super special bedtime story with the fabulous Mama G. Enjoy uplifting stories about being who you are and loving who you choose.  

22nd June, 10:30am – Newmarket Library – Pride Collage: for all ages 

Drop in and celebrate equality and diversity for Suffolk Pride 2019 by creating a giant rainbow collage! All materials provided. 

23rd June, 1:30pm – Gainsborough Community Library – Family Film Screening: Paranorman 

Join us for a screening of family film ParaNorman, which tackles bullying and intolerance as well as having one of the first openly gay characters in an animated film. Under 8s must be accompanied by an adult. 

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