Rainbow flags fly high in Exmouth for Pride month

Exmouth Pride Festival. Ref exe 27-16SH 0799. Picture: Simon Horn.

Exmouth Pride Festival from a previous year - Credit: Simon Horn

Ah, June at last. And with it the return of some of the seasonal celebrations and rituals that have been so long missing from our lives, meeting friends, going to restaurants, getting sunburnt on the first day we have some decent sunshine. 

June is also the month we celebrate Pride – the LGBT+ event or events that pay tribute to the Stonewall Riots of 1978. Covid has sadly put paid once again this year to Exmouth’s Pride festival but being the amazing little town we are, our local Pride group have worked with Exmouth Town Council to show our support for this important celebration.

Flags flying with Pride in Exmouth

Flags flying with Pride in Exmouth - Credit: Emma Richardson

Perhaps the symbol most synonymous with Pride is the rainbow flag. I’ve just spent a very enjoyable hour going down an internet rabbit-hole looking at the origins of this symbol – time well spent and it’s actually very interesting. 
From the first configuration by activists Gilbert Baker and Harvey Milk it was intended to be a wide-reaching, all-inclusive symbol. Speaking about its design to NBC news in 2017, Gilbert Baker said: “It's a flag, it needed to have depth, and so I liked the idea that each colour would represent an element of everyone's life.” He designated each of the original eight colours an element: sex, life, healing, sunlight, nature, art, serenity and spirit. Over the next year the design evolved to become the six colour version flown today. A flag is such a fundamental affirmation of belonging – it’s about saying this is our tribe, we are all in this together, look at us, we are here. That’s incredibly powerful as a message.

All of which brings me neatly to Exmouth Pride’s commemoration of Pride Month this year. In the absence of a big celebration in the park, Exmouth are instead flying not one but 17 specially commissioned flags that have been hoisted on all the council’s flag poles around the town centre and along the seafront. Designed in conjunction with local business and Pride sponsor Vibrant Pulse, we have Exmouth Town Council’s Arts Manager Carla Hiley to thank for developing the project. Featuring, of course, the colours of the rainbow, I think the flags are a welcome addition to our townscape that dare I say it, still have a place long after Pride Month is over. When you’re out and about in town take a moment to have a look for them. It makes me proud that we live in a town that shouts aloud ‘everyone is welcome here’.

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