Older LGBT+ people are being encouraged to dress up in their finest 1950s attire and come along to Vintage Pride on 10 August – a dedicated space at the Chester Pride Festival.
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After taking part in the parade, they are invited to head back to the Vintage Pride marquee where they can enjoy a 1950s milk-bar and silent disco with sing-along in Makaton.
Silver Rainbows launched Vintage Pride three years ago to help the older LGBT+ community feel less isolated.
“We wanted to create a space with a different tempo to the parade, somewhere people could sit down and chat over a cup tea,” said Colin Avery, Community Development Worker for Silver Rainbows who organises the event along with Age UK Cheshire, Brightlife Cheshire and Body Positive.
“We also wanted to encourage different generations to come together and share their experiences.”
Someone who has attended Vintage Pride every year since the start is Isabel Jeffrey (77) from Winsford – a trans woman who started living openly as Isabel around five years ago.
She cares for her wife of 56 years, Margaret, who suffers with dementia so, for Isabel, it’s a rare opportunity to have some respite.
“The support we get from Vintage Pride has made such a difference,” she said. “It means I can enjoy the parade without having to worry about Margaret as they look after her for me.
“The crowds wave and interact – it’s so exhilarating. I’m standing up and being counted. It makes me feel normal and shows people we’re nothing to be scared of.”
Older LGBT+ adults are at higher risk
Older LGBT+ adults are at higher risk of experiencing social isolation, social stigma and health problems than their heterosexual counterparts according to a Strategy Group for the Ageing Better programme established by The National Lottery Community Fund.
“Many older LGBT+ people have had lots of experiences of prejudice and there are still older people who find it difficult to be out and open and accepted,” said Colin. “Being part of Vintage Pride really helps them feel part of the community.”