Fire Service unveils new engine in support of LGBT+ equality

Besi Besemar June 28, 2017

Shoppers in Hull see the latest addition to Humberside Fire and Rescue Service’s (HFRS) fleet roll into Queen Victoria Square emblazoned in rainbow colours.

The new fire engine, which will be based at the city‚Äôs Calvert Lane fire station, is the result of a close working relationship between the fire service and the organisers of Pride in Hull, which has been named the first ever ‚ÄėUK Pride‚Äô and coincides with the city‚Äôs reign as UK City of Culture 2017.

The engine features the Pride in Hull logo and the message Fire doesn’t discriminate, neither do we, the engine will be part of the service’s fleet until the end of the year.

Andy Train, co-chair of the UK Pride Organisers’ Network and Trustee of Pride in Hull, said: “We have had a close working relationship with the fire service for many years, but this year we wanted to raise the bar and do something extra special.

‚ÄúWe hope that the eye-catching engine will get people talking. We know that many people have certain stereotypes in their mind when they think of LGBT people and people also have preconceived ideas about the fire service. We hope that this helps to break down both of those barriers.‚ÄĚ

Hull UK City of Culture 2017 is also coordinating a huge programme of events across the arts to mark the 50th anniversary of the partial decriminalisation of homosexuality in the UK, under the banner of LGBT+ 50.

This week-long celebration begins with the Pride in Hull parade on July 22 which will feature 50 LGBT+ icons, from Clare Balding to Pat Butcher and from Tom Daley to Justin Fashanu, designed and created by iconoclastic queer collective Duckie.

The parade culminates in the Pride in Hull concert headlined by Marc Almond along with 80s icon Sonia and 90s popstars B*Witched.

The week-long festival will close on Saturday, July 29 with A Duckie Summer Tea Party featuring Into the Light, a new work by award-winning choreographer Gary Clarke and Yorkshire Dance, followed by a concert broadcast live on BBC Radio 2 presented by Scissor Sisters’ front woman Ana Matronic and BBC Radio 1’s Scott Mills.

Into the Light is described as ‚Äėa fast-forward version through LGBT+ history‚Äô and invites everyone to dance through the decades from 1967.

Gary Clarke has created a moving dance celebration of our lives and loves, our challenges and our triumphs. Follow the LGBT+ community’s emergence from a secret world, in which homosexuality was illegal, and join us for a riotous, family-friendly performance in the bright, open air.

Throughout the week there will also be exhibitions, socials and debates offering an opportunity to celebrate Hull’s LGBT+ community and heroes past and present, freedoms gained, and to show solidarity with continuing struggles for LGBT+ equality in the UK and around the world.

Humber Street Gallery will host The House of Kings and Queens (July 27 Р September 24), a specially commissioned exhibition of photography by Lee Price. Captured in Sierra Leone, where homosexuality remains illegal, Price’s powerful images offer a glimpse into The House where inhabitants can live without oppression, exposing what it means to be gay in Hull’s sister city Freetown.

The new fire engine will take pride of place in the Hull Pride Parade and it will also feature in the Pride in London parade on Saturday, July 8.

Chief Fire Officer Dene Sanders, pictured centre with Pride in Hull’s Andy Train (flanked by the crew) was delighted to launch the latest addition to the Service‚Äôs fleet.

He said: “We are really proud as a Service to work with the Pride in Hull team to add this engine to our already colourful fleet. We have moved on significantly as a service in equality and diversity, but there is still a long way to¬†go within¬†organisations such as ours and the wider community we serve. The very fact that we have an engine wrapped like this as we approach the LGBT+ 50 celebrations shows how much progress has been made. We look forward to a colourful summer showcasing the engine at events in Hull and beyond.”