Politicians, businesses and gay and trans people will march through the Welsh capital of Cardiff for the first time this year to highlight gay hate.
The LGBT Mardi Gras festival has been a fixture on the Cardiff calendar for many years, but the parade through the city center on 1 September will be a first.
Chairman of Mardi Gras, Richard Newton, said: ‘Statistics show us that trans and homophobic hate crime is on the increase in south Wales; and that many have suffered bullying and discrimination in schools and at work.
‘The key to stopping this is to create visibility and understanding and we want to do this by taking this opportunity to parade through Cardiff city center.’
The Mardi Gras committee are challenging as many businesses, employers and organisations to get involved in the parade as possible to highlight the importance of tackling hate crimes in the workplace. Similar marches elsewhere in the UK have been supported by the public sector, the armed forces, police and many private employers.
‘Many reports still show that gay people fear hostility and discrimination in the workplace as a result of their sexuality,’ Newton said. ‘For instance Lord Browne, a former CEO of BP, recently highlighted that the business world was "intolerant of homosexuality".’
The committee has said there will be no charge for individuals and non-commercial companies to take part in the parade, however there will be a charge for commercial businesses to get involved.
They are also running competitions for best float and best walker. The parade will travel through the city centre arriving at Coopers Field in time for the start of the main stage activities which include X Factor finalists, Marcus Collins and Ruth Lorenzo, and singer Heather Small and world supergroup The Freemasons.
Jane Hutt AM, Welsh minister for equality added: ‘I am delighted to see the Mardi Gras returning to Cardiff again this year. Cardiff Mardi Gras is a great example of how we can bring people together to eliminate discrimination, something the Welsh government is always keen to support.’
Tickets for the day events are: £6 for adults; £3 for 10 to 16-year0olds and free entry for under 10s. To purchase tickets, go to the Cardiff Mardi Gras website.