GAZ De Vere has been a photographer for more than 45 years. He moved to Southend from London in 1997 and since then he has been documenting protests, political figures, musicians, performers and events such as the Halloween Parade, Shakedown and Pride in and around Southend and Basildon.

He is the official photographer for both Southend and Basildon Pride and here he explains why Pride is so importantto society. See for details.

There will be a lot of Pride events from July 10, culminating in the parade and festivalon July 16, as well as a Queer Prom at the Park Inn Palace Hotel ballroom on July 9.

My first Pride was in London in 1979, ten years after the events in New York which kicked off the whole movement. On the night of Judy Garland’s funeral, the patrons of the Stonewall Bar in New York, who wereholding a wake forher,had finally had enough of the constant police raids and they fought back.

The LGBTQ+ community has fought so many battles: GRID came and went and was replaced with AIDS. So very, very many friends and lovers were lost. Equality was won in employment, parity of age of consent, civil partnerships, marriage, destruction of Clause 28 and so on. It’s now far easier for kids to come out at school. As lesbian, gay, bi, trans and so on. Easier. Not perfect. But it is easier. Globally we’re now seeing a reversal of many of those battles and our youth are fighting once again for their basic rights in many countries. It’s so easy to lose those rights already won, legislation and policies need progressing on on a regular basis. The UK has slipped from first to fourteenth in the European rankings on LGBT+ rights and there has been a dramatic rise in hate crimes against the LGBT+ community over the last five years.

So Pride has always been a political event. Nowadays it’smore of a festival and totally inclusive. It’s important for Pride to exist, it shows the world how diverse we all are, and that it’s OK. Pride is for everyone, everyone who wants a happier more inclusive world. We need help to bring Pride to Southend this year. Two years without our usual fundraising has left us with depleted finances.

Please help by donating what you can to ensure Pride goes a head in Southendin2022. Visit