'It's become part of our city' - Paul Kemp reflects on the history of Brighton Pride

  • Brighton Pride Managing Director Paul Kemp discusses his love for the city and why Pride remains such a special event.

As Brighton Pride returned to the city for the first time in three years this week, the Managing Director of the event has been reflecting on the history of Pride, and his love for Brighton.

Hundreds of thousands of people have spent the weekend celebrating the LGBTQ+ community in Brighton at one of the country's most popular pride events.  

The event brings in more than £20million for the local economy and has grown rapidly over the last thirty years.

Paul Kemp arrived in Brighton as a teenager aged just 17 years old after being brought up in Crawley, and hadn't yet come out as gay.

"I found my place here, he said.

"I became part of the community here and it's a special place for me. It's also quite unique in the UK."

It wasn’t until 1991 that Brighton Pride as we know today, began.

The first Brighton Gay Pride took place in 1973 on the 7 and 8 July with a march, gay dance and picnic.

But it wasn’t until 1991 that Brighton Pride as we know today, began with four days of protest, film, art, history, live music, cabaret, clubbing and a Pink Picnic at Preston Park.

It was a time when the LGBTQI community were years away from equality and the community was protesting against Section 28, government legislation that banned local authorities from promoting homosexuality.

But Paul first got involved in the event in 1992.

"It was a very small event on The Level, for about one thousand people if that.

"I ran a club night and we were the first 'tent on the park' which became a big part of Pride over the years, and was one of the main features at Preston Park.

"I became the Managing Director in 2018.

Brighton Pride has grown significantly since 1991.

"Pride has become part of the city now, everyone coming together, and celebrating together in the community.

"It has evolved, by nature of things when they get bigger, you have to put more safety measures in, more security.

"It's a big event for the city now and is big to organise. As everyone knows the event and hospitality industry after Covid. The costs have gone up.

"But one of the main purposes of Brighton Pride is to raise money for the Rainbow Fund. We're really thrilled to be back this year, hopefully raising lots of money for our community groups across the city."