‘Romford Pride is bigger and better than ever.’

Stephen Freeman is a remarkable man that has a lot to be proud. Stephen is the organiser of Romford Pride and the man responsible for getting this amazing event set up here in our borough.

As we celebrate LGBT+ History Month, Stephen spoke to the Havering Daily about how far society has come after some horrifically dark periods and how we can keep moving forward and establish even better practices for our LGBT+ community.

Stephen began working with the Havering community in 2014/15. He began addressing the important issues of hate crime against our LGBT+ members.

“We are moving forward as a society but there is till a lot of work that needs to be done. Bringing Pride here in Havering was a very interesting learning curve for us and now it is bigger and better than ever. In the last twenty years we have come a long way. The world as whole needs more work though.

“Havering as a borough is getting better. The tide is starting to turn and one of the most amazing highlights I can think of is at our first ever Pride in Romford on a very busy Saturday in July, two men got engaged on stage. That was amazing.”

Stephen is pleased that our LGBT+ community finally have the freedom to be who they want to be openly without living in fear of discrimination.

“With history month here it is important really that we look back at those who paved the way for us, that suffered horrors to bring us what we have now. People like Alan Turing who saved this country and won us a war and yet was chemically castrated. His face is always flown at our events to remember him.

“Also remembering the dark times of the 1980’s with the arrival of HIV and how the gay community was treated. All these people paved the way for us now.

“One of the most important parts of history of course was the legalisation of same sex marriage that gave us the ability to be married to our partners.”

Stephen has made his mark on Havering. Starting with the addressing of hate crime that sadly still goes on today against our LGBT+ community to proudly bringing Pride here to the busy streets of Romford.

“It is a very large scale event and it has been possible thanks to the Council, we would not have been able to do this without the help of Havering Council.

“There is still work I would like to see done such as certain areas of Romford permanently flying our LGBT+ flag all year round and not just during history month. But, on the whole things are changing for the better.”

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