NOT even the coronavirus lockdown could dampen the high spirits as Oxford Pride Week marked its grand finale with fun events in celebration of the LGBTQAI+ community.

A full day of previously recorded events including performances from bands and singers and live interviews with guests took place.

The day was hosted by Zayna Ratty, chair of Oxford Pride, with hundreds of people tuning in via Facebook.

The morning kicked off with a virtual parade – a video compilation of previous Pride parades through Oxford city centre.

Students at Abingdon and Witney College also featured in a colourful lip sync video to Kinky Boots that people were encouraged to sing along to.

Other virtual events that took place, included drag queen storytelling by Aida H Dee, from Cardiff, founder of Drag Queen Story Hour UK.

The 25-year-old has been reading stories to children for three years and appreciated being asked to take part in Oxford Pride this year.

She said: “It was such an honour to read stories to Oxford. I chose three stories, one of which discusses self-acceptance and coming out.

“It is centred around a 'normal' boy called Norman who grows wings. He wears a coat to hide himself, but once he realises the coat is causing him to be miserable he lets his inhibitions go thanks to his parents support.

“This book is exactly what Drag Queen Story Hour UK stands for.

“We aim to teach acceptance of others and one’s self. Just because someone might be gay, blind, different coloured, autistic, have ADHD, or have one arm, you should still love and accept someone.”

Using technology and social media, the Oxford Pride community enjoyed other events last week online including drag shows, an art competition, drag Zumba and drag make-up tutorials.

Ms Ratty said audience reception was ‘fantastic’ with the social media event reaching more than 20,000 people over the past week.

She said: “We featured videos from some local prides and had the majority of committee dropping in to co-host at times.

“We also had viewers from around the world tuning in so we were extremely blessed to get as much love as that, the comments were so positive and its obvious we got people interacting who might not do so otherwise.

“Trying to run a committee and events remotely has been very difficult and stressful we would like to thank everyone that performed during the week and came on live along with submitting videos to go out on Saturday.”

Ms Ratty says the whole week has been a highlight and values the community’s support.

She added: “We are grateful to sponsors, supporters and allies for all the support, sharing, likes and donations to Oxford Pride and for the hard work of all to raise the visibility of our entire community during these times.

“What we did was something Oxford Pride has never attempted before on such a scale and the committee can all be extremely proud.”