On Sunday 2nd October 2022, Opening Doors held an exclusive event at Walthamstow Trade Hall to mark Silver Pride Month and pay homage to the LGBTQ+ Tea Dances that became popular in the 1960s. 

For the first Silver Pride, Opening Doors’ members, partners and volunteers came together under one roof to celebrate an important month in the LGBTQ+ calendar which also coincided with Silver Sunday. 

Silver Pride Month, similarly to Pride Month that takes place annually in July, is a month dedicated to recognising members of the LGBTQ+ community over the age of 50. This year was even more poignant as it was 50 years since the first Pride march which took place in 1952, of which some Opening Doors’ members were present at. 

The Silver Pride Tea Dance event was a unique intergenerational opportunity for both members and allies of the LGBTQ+ community to socialise, have fun and embrace the traditions of LGBTQ+ Tea Dances within the retro walls of the trade hall. 

The exciting occasion was kick-offed with a soulful performance by talented LGBTQ+ singing group, Barberfellas, who performed classics such as ‘The Bare Necessities’ in front of the silver-decorated balloon arch.  

Afterwards, guests were invited on to the dancefloor where they were led by dance masters and volunteers, DJ Jacky and Peter, to try out different genres of dance including Latin ballroom and line dancing. 

As well as this, guests were able to take some memorable photos using the roaming photobooth which they could also take away as commemorative tokens of their day out.  

Some of our lucky members also got their hands on some coveted raffle prizes including hampers provided by supporters LuvJus Drinks and Co-op as well as a tablet provided by corporate partner Lloyds Bank. 

Everyone at the event was then given an Opening Doors’ branded tote bag with tea-inspired goodies to take home as a thank you to attending the event.  

The event was a huge success and filled with many wonderful highlights of the passion, courage and optimism demonstrated by our members, some of whom have fought bravely for decades for equal rights for the LGBTQ+ community.  

Member Sarath said: Being able to meet and socialise with people in a safe environment is important to the LGBTQ+ community. It was an extremely enjoyable experience. The food, the company, the entertainment and the dancing lessons were superb. The volunteers were kind and welcoming. It was an event that was much appreciated and enjoyed by all. 

The event would not have been possible without the generosity and commitment of all our supporters and volunteers including Walthamstow Trade Hall, Untold Film UK, Barberfellas, LuvJus Drinks, Co-op and Lloyds Bank.  

Rainbow, which is Lloyds Bank’s LGBTQ+ Network, helped to bring the event to life by being the our main key sponsors.  

The Co- Chair of the network, Craig Shavez, said: ‘Partnering with Opening Doors to deliver the Silver Pride Tea Dance has been an amazing experience as it has enabled us to give something back to the older generation of the LGBTQ+ community who have paved the way for so many of us to be openly who we are today. It has also been really rewarding to be see the impact our network's contributions have made in bringing people from diverse backgrounds and experiences together to remember the legacy of the LGBTQ+ community. We look forward to continuing our work with Opening Doors to offer more unique opportunities to support its members.’