Oxford, internationally known as The City of Dreaming Spires, is famous the world over for its universities and unique place in history. Established in the 9th century, people have been known to live here for thousands of years. The original town has grown to be a bustling cosmopolitan city, welcoming people from around the world adding to the cities diverse population. UK Pride 2021 would be welcomed for the additional diversity that it would bring to the city.
People are drawn to its beautiful historic stone buildings, location on the Thames making it the perfect place for punting and its links to Tolkien, Morse, Alice in Wonderland and, of course Harry Potter. Oxford Pride is a celebration of lesbian, gay, bi, trans and queer life in Oxfordshire, providing information, education and entertainment in a welcoming and inclusive environment.
It all began back in 2002 at a Spring bank holiday celebration of the Queen's golden jubilee. Oxfords’ two gay pubs at that time, Jolly Farmers and Castle Tavern, held a street party on Paradise Street with barbecues, games and entertainment. When far more people turned up than expected it prompted talk of organising a Pride event in Oxford. Following the formation of Oxford Pride Group Ltd in 2003 Oxford saw its first ever Pride Day that Spring on Saturday 3rd May in Oxpens Field.
The Oxford Pride Event moved in 2005 from May to July and in 2008 Oxford Pride included the first Oxford Pride Parade; starting in the busy city centre the Parade walked past the LGBT+ pubs on Paradise Street and St Thomas Street, then continued on to the event.
The date was changed to early June in 2009 to encourage more involvement by staff and students of the universities, and expanded with the introduction of a 10-day Arts and Culture Festival to celebrate the diverse LGBT+ groups, organisations and people of Oxfordshire.
Following years of discussion and the development of new governing documents Oxford Pride successfully restructured to became a charity in 2012. This enabled access to new funding sources to assist with the relentless efforts required to maintain the free celebration of LGBT+ life in Oxfordshire.
Oxford Pride relocated into the city centre in 2015 to Paradise Street and expanding into the Oxford Castle Quarter. A new logo was developed in 2018 to show the colourful head of an ox.
In cities like Oxford, where we are free to express our love for one another, events like Oxford Pride provide a voice and visibility to help ensure that our human rights are maintained and upheld.
Oxford Pride is a registered charity run by a dedicated team of volunteers elected from the membership. Festival events produced by Oxford Pride plus those by local organisations, businesses, the universities and individuals; reach out to the wider community providing visibility under the umbrella of inclusion.
We are honoured to spotlight our founding Members of Oxford Pride
Aidan Walters, Andi Whiting, Andy Garlick, Dave Hill (Secretary to 2007), Jill Rayner, Karl Andrews, Lara Hartley, Lulu Hudson, Mark Holton, Mark Whittaker, Michael Spurling, Sarah Scarrott, Spike, Steve Atkins (Castle Tavern), Toby Warner and Paul Stewart (Treasurer 2004 to 2007), and Mazz Image (founder Parade 2008 and Festival 2009).