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“It’s an amazing experience where we get to spread a bit of inclusion and love.”

Train manager James Dobson on being part of the Avanti West Coast team at Birmingham Pride.

27 September, 2021

Birmingham Pride is something I look forward to every year - it’s my favourite Pride event out of them all.

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Historically it usually kicks off the Pride season because it normally happens in May. But because of the pandemic it was moved to September – so I was really happy it was still going ahead.

I love Birmingham Pride so much is because it’s feels homely and there’s a sense of everyone being connected, which I think is quite unique. It’s an amazing experience where we get to spread a bit of inclusion and love.

This year’s event also had a candlelight vigil the night before for those we’ve lost over the years and it was so nice for me to go to that to remember them.

“The fact Avanti West Coast are getting involved in Pride really does reinforces our commitment to the LGBTQ+ community.”

At the parade, there was about 50 of us from Avanti West Coast who took part with friends and family tagging along. For this event, our Pride Train – named Progress – also travelled to into New Street Station from London to mark the occasion.

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Our Avanti West Coast contingent walked the parade route through the city and we made as much noise as we could making our presence known, because it’s the first time we as a business have taken part in Birmingham Pride.

The fact Avanti West Coast are getting involved in Pride really does reinforces our commitment to the LGBTQ+ community.

We also walked next to our colleagues from Network Rail, which was a  brilliant opportunity to show a consistent message of inclusion across the rail industry.

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From a personal note, it’s a great way of bringing people together and nice to be with others in the business who have the same objectives as me - which is to spread the Pride message of diversity and inclusion. And I think we shouldn’t forget that’s the reason why we take part in the parade.

I am proud to be part of an industry who supports this message. We’ve come a very far from when I started in the railways in in 2014 and it’s great to see where we are now. Long may it continue.

Images:

Main: James Dobson with the Avanti West Coast team at this year’s Birmingham Pride (September 25)

Second image: Avanti West Coast Pride flag

Third image: The Avanti West Coast team at the Pride parade

Fourth Image: The Pride Train – Progress at Birmingham New Street Station.