The day MyUmbrella LGBT+ was born no one could predict what it was to become. Back in 2013 when Reading Pride got a call from both the Trans* and Asexual community that they did not feel welcome at Pride, we knew we had to do something to change that feeling. So we had our very first Trans Picnic with a changing area and asexuality space.
In 2014 Christina Dearlove took on the role as Trans liaison, Kerry Kleis was Asexuality Liaison and Beth Wright was Pansexual and Women’s Liaison. That same year Beth and Kerry put forward a motion at the 2014 AGM to include the plus in the charities Mission Statement which was passed by a significant majority of the membership. From here on in, inclusion became the focal point of Reading Pride.
Fast forward to eight weeks before Reading Pride 2015, Christina and Kerry had the brain wave to combine their liaison work to whole new level by creating a local social network that runs all year to create events for the lesser known LGBT+ community and allies, after a lot of meetings and a lot of hard work at Reading Pride 2015 MyUmbrella was born with the original logo designed by Adam Newman of which we are forever grateful.
The following spring Christina and Beth attended the first UK Pride Network conference in Manchester, while there it became very clear that a number of Pride’s from across the UK did not understand the needs of the lesser known community and some were very hostile to the concept of why we had set up MyUmbrella Over time, a huge number admitted they needed help so this ignited our little network to grow substantially and we are now supporting a number of Pride organisers across the south and UK. Sadly in 2016 Beth stood down from the organisation.
Today MyUmbrella has a team of four people. We now not only run local social events but also attend a number of Pride's across the UK. We have facilitated training events with a number of blue chip and global corporates to present to them what they need to know about LGBT+ and how to be more inclusive. We also work closely with Shout Out LGBT Radio with our monthly podcast "Under The Brolly". We now have an online Etsy store where you can purchase LGBT+ merchandise and our guide to LGBT+. In 2019 we supported 21 Pride’s all over the UK, travelled over 4,000 miles by road and over 1,000 miles by rail.
In 2020, since the beginning of lock down due to the COVID-19 pandemic in March; MyUmbrella started live streaming "Under The Brolly LIVE!" as we felt with nearly all Pride events having been postponed or cancelled that it was more important than ever to stay connected and entertained to maintain a healthy mind and to stay positive.