Meet the Chichester Pride team
Co-Chair | Melissa Hamilton
I first came out as a gay man aged 14 and openly trans since 2018. I grew up in Chichester with The Bush Inn as our LGBTQI+ social go-to, however, the pub shut down not long after I came out. When it came to looking for support, Chichester seemed to be lacking especially in comparison to other cities over the UK.
Family and friends would often say "can't you just move to Brighton?"
The lack of support and visibility in Chichester has been my main drive to change things within the city, which, in turn, lead me to set up regular social meets for the LGBTQI+ community. The Chichester Pride committee was soon formed and we began planning the Chichester's first-ever Pride event.
Pride to me is not about segregation, but inclusivity from every walk of life.
To be bold and visible and to show we are all human - regardless of any labels.
Co-chair | Dawn Gracie
I have lived in Chichester for 16 years and for 15 of those, I have been in the local entertainment scene, from rock to retro soloist, with my first drag & burlesque cabaret show being in 2012. Since then I have continued to offer diverse and sometimes challenging entertainment - officially named Chichester Cabaret Club in 2016 - designed to surprise, enlighten and educate and I soon realised that this was attracting an equally diverse audience including the LGBTQ+ community.
I have always insisted on a safe place for everyone, performers and audiences alike, and am frequently told how surprising it is that something like this exists in Chichester because of its Conservative reputation.
I believe that the community in our city deserves to have more readily available services and support and as an LGBTQ+ ally, with a public platform and years of experience in event production and performance, I have a lot to offer Chichester Pride. I have never feared to put my head above the parapet for causes that might be deemed against the status quo.
Secretary | Kirsty Buchanan
For more than two decades I was a journalist, ending up as Political Editor on a National Sunday newspaper. For the past five years, I have worked in communications at two Government departments and at Number 10.
I want to help promote Chichester Pride because I want the city to be a modern, inclusive and tolerant place to live. I want everyone to feel confident enough to celebrate who they are and feel there is somewhere they can go to get the support and friendship they need.
Legal | Rita Sen
I am a Solicitor living in Chichester and working in Rose Green. I have been involved in other charitable work over many years and I am currently Chair of the West Sussex Region of the Lords Taverners. I am assisting Chichester pride with their application for charitable status in due course.
I also have a very cute dog called Clicquot - She attends many of the committee meetings!
Website | Zoe Gadd
During my time at Brighton University, my eyes were opened to a diverse and flourishing LGBTQ+ scene. The thriving community felt like a stark contrast to my hometown in West Sussex, where the LGBTQ+ community was very much lacking in representation.
I'm really proud to be working with the Chichester Pride committee to celebrate the love and diversity within our city and sharing the experience with LGBTQ+ members of the community and allies alike.