Emma Baldry and the Pride of her life
All smiles : Emma Baldry (right) with her fiancé Ann at Liverpool Pride 2016
As an openly gay women of the last 9 years, I have attended many Pride events across the United Kingdom, every one holding a special memory, but this year’s Liverpool Pride will be one I will definitely never forget!
As I finished on stage for the second time having addressed the building crowds, as a Trustee for the Michael Causer Foundation, at the beginning of the march, another member of the crowd was invited to the stage – my partner Ann. She was, at the time, dressed in her full Navy uniform as she was working the recruitment stand as she is a serving Chief Petty Officer in the Reserves at HMS Eaglet. I was in total shock as she doesn’t really do public speaking and I wondered why she was up on the stage. She started to talk about how the project ‘Come out of the Shadows’, which saw iconic Liverpool buildings lit up in Rainbow colours in the week leading to Pride, had resonated with her and that it was me who had helped her with that. She then turned to face me, dropped to one knee and popped the question ‘Will you marry me?’ Through tears of happiness I nodded and managed to get the word ‘yes’ out! We embraced and left the stage to receive hugs from several of our friends and then we went on the march. I had never felt such pride as I did in that moment and we were both overwhelmed with the good wishes and big hugs we got as the day progressed.
Now a month on the wedding preparations are in full swing! We have booked the registry office of St George’s Hall, right where the proposal happened outside, and are having a second venue in HMS EAGLET – Ann’s naval base and the regional Reserves Headquarters. Because the registry space is limited we are also having the live ceremony web streamed to HMS EAGLET so that as many of our friends and family can be a part of the full day from the start.
“Through tears of happiness I nodded and managed to get the word ‘yes’ out!”
Share the special moment when Ann takes to the Liverpool Pride stage and proposes to Emma.
In the spirit of how we live our lives and the desire to be inclusive, we are also breaking down the traditional job roles of a wedding and sharing them amongst many of our friends and family members. I will be given away by my best friend Laura, she has always been there for me to share many tears and even more laughter together. Ann will be given away by her a sister Madge as she is the person who knows her best and has been a huge part of her life, not only as a sister but as a best friend and as Ann’s biggest cheerleader. Our witnesses will then be other close friends of ours who have made an impact on our lives. Once the ceremony is done we will all then spend the rest of the day at HMS EAGLET enjoying the company of our many friends and family.
When it comes to speeches again we are going to be different and inclusive. Our joint best friend, ‘out’ Paralympian Claire Harvey, is going to do a ‘Bestie Speech’ as she has known us both as individuals and as a couple and then the mic will be left open for anyone else to say anything or perform as we have many talented friends.
Through all the negative things that have happened to the LGBT community over the last few months and the work that still needs to be done to achieve equality we need to hold onto to the positive light that does shine and definitely shone in moments like that Saturday of Liverpool Pride and the light that will definitely shine when I say I DO to the woman I love more than anyone in the world. I am happy to be a trustee for the Michael Causer Foundation and also a part of the Diversity Role Models and Stonewall School Role Models teams and this is a new chapter in my story that I can’t wait to share in my next workshops!