Check out the only physical Pride festival to take place in Britain this year

Channel Islands Pride 2020 on Guernsey
A performer takes a selfie at Channel Islands Pride 2020 (Photo: Paul Chambers Photography)

The only physical Pride event to take place on the British isles this year took place Saturday on the island of Guernsey.

Guernsey is one of the Channel Islands which lie between England and France. It is technically a British Crown Dependency and self-governs itself. Channel Islands Pride takes place on an alternating basis between Guernsey and Jersey (the other big Channel Island) each summer.

Guernsey - Channel Islands Pride 2020
(Photo: Paul Chambers Photography)

The event took on a particular significance this year because it was possibly the only Pride festival in Europe that was allowed to proceed almost as normal.

Related: Check out the colorful scene at one of the world’s only marches during pride month 2020

That was chiefly down to its location. Because Guernsey is a small island (approximately 25 square miles, with a population of 63,000), and all visitors have to self-isolate for 14 days, it has a very low COVID-19 rate. In fact, the island has only had one case in the 135 days preceding the festival.

 

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For this reason, social distancing measures are not in force and nearly all lockdown measures have been lifted.

The annual Pride festival goes beyond just the local LGBTQ community, with around 10% of the island’s population attending. The Saturday afternoon parade kicked off in Candie Gardens, St Peter Port. It made its way through the town into Market Square for the festival’s main party.

(Photo: Paul Chambers Photography)

A local airline, Aurigny, even organized a one-off ‘Pride flight’ to bring festival-goers from the Isle of Man (exempt from the self-isolation restrictions).

Guernsey resident Holly Tardif told the BBC it was “one of the most inclusive and magical days” that made “everyone feel welcome”.

Organizer Ellie Jones (left) on Pride's own rainbow steps, and one of the festival's drag performers
L-R: Organizer Ellie Jones on Pride’s own rainbow steps, and drag performer, Magenta (Photo: Paul Chambers Photography)

“Channel Islands Pride 2020 couldn’t have gone any better,” event organiser Ellie Jones told GayCities. “We are extremely lucky to have hosted what we think is the only in real life Pride with no social distancing. It’s our biggest and best Pride yet and it felt like the whole of the island came out to celebrate with us.”

A rainbow projection on the town's main church lasted all weekend
A rainbow projection on the town’s main church lasted all weekend (Photo: Paul Chambers Photography)

Besides the Saturday festival, other ways in which Pride was marked was an eye-catching rainbow projection on the Town Church in St Peter Port. Residents of the nearby, small island of Sark had also carried a huge rainbow flag across that island’s famous La Coupée walkway.

 

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Related: Scenic island becomes last place in Britain to legalize same-sex marriage