North West Wales

Anglesey gay Mardi Gras 'can help tackle homophobia'

Organisers of north Wales' first Mardi Gras say they hope it will help to tackle homophobia.

The three-day event at the Mona showground on Anglesey will include music and street performers.

Keith Parry, of sexual health charity Mesmac North Wales said it was an event the local lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community had waited for.

Organisers hope both gay and straight people will attend.

"We at Mesmac decided after 13 years of working in north Wales that this was the right time to have it here, and Anglesey is the perfect place to hold it," he said.

"This event will show lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people that they are not alone, as there are thousands of us living in north Wales.

"We thought the event had to be planned like in Cardiff, where gay and straight people could mix together and have fun, and in that way it would help in the fight against homophobia."

"People can dress up in drag or fancy dress and we'll have things like three-legged races Saturday afternoon; just a chance to have a laugh," he said.

"There will also be a chill out space and Christian Aid will be showing some films of their work with people with Aids in the UK and Africa."

'Very misunderstood'

Emma Chantelle Bailey, who lives near the showground and runs TForm, a website for transgender people, said: "I feel very excited that north Wales will finally get its own LGBT event, and even more excited that it will be held in such a prominent venue as the Mona showground," she said.

"Apart from a few great places like the Three Crowns in Bangor, there isn't much else for the LGBT community in north Wales.

"I know of many people who will look forward to being able to celebrate who they are, while at the same time showing people that they are here and they are deserving of the same rights as everyone else within society.

"Even in this day and age, and especially in rural communities, LGBT issues can be very misunderstood.

"The event will obviously not just be for LGBT individuals - it's for everyone to enjoy - but an event such as this is a fabulous way of opening people's eyes and breaking down social barriers."

Mr Parry said they were already planning next year's event, and hoped to gain sponsorship so that it cold be free like most other Mardi Gras.

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