AS the Labour MP for the City of Durham, there are two events I look forward to every year.

One is, of course, the Durham Miners’ Gala.

The other is Durham Pride.

For the last 11 years, under the watch of Mel Metcalf, it has brought together the LGBT+ community within County Durham.

Watching the Durham Pride parade leave Palace Green and march through the historic, winding streets of Durham, led by the fabulous Tess Tickle and her Dragettes, is a sight to behold, and this Sunday we’ll once again witness the sea of rainbows, sequins and flags bringing joy to the crowd lining the streets.

It is a crowd which grows year upon year and which demonstrates the real solidarity of people in Durham.

Durham Pride is one of the many regional pride celebrations that have emerged in recent years.

One of the benefits of smaller pride events is their community-focus, creating a unique space for LGBT+ people in their areas.

And through the North East England Rainbow Alliance (NEERA) project, Durham Pride provides vital services for LGBT+ people.

This includes an LGBT+ helpline, staffed by fully qualified volunteers, who can help those who have been victims of same sex domestic abuse, bullying or hate crime.

Durham Pride also provides specialist training in the region with NEERA members being supported to undertake specialist LGBT+ focussed training, review policies and consider their practices to raise awareness and improve responses to the LGBT+ community across Durham and the North East.

Although I’m biased as the local MP, I can’t think of many places that can host two great events like Durham can.

The Durham Miners’ Gala and Durham Pride have a lot in common: community, history and solidarity.

And there’s real solidarity between the LGBT+ community and the mining community.

After all, Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners (LGSM) stood shoulder-to-shoulder with coalminers in the 1984-5 miners’ strike.

The miners’ union, the National Union of Mineworkers, demonstrated what LGSM’s solidarity meant to them when the union called on the Labour Party to support lesbian and gay rights.

It showed us that the Labour movement is a rainbow coalition, one where everyone is welcome. And that means everyone: including non-binary and trans people.

Unfortunately, this situation isn’t one for the history books.

Forty years since the miners’ strike ended, we have another Tory government (although hopefully not for long) attacking workers and LGBT+ people – particularly trans people – all over again. This isn’t an issue of “identity politics'', or the manufactured arguments we hear in the media.

Since 2010, workers and LGBT+ people have seen their living standards decline because of the Conservatives’ failed austerity experiment. And while ministers’ attack workers’ rights to strike, they also attack trans people’s dignity.

There’s an alternative, though: solidarity among all those whose lives have been demeaned by the Tories – drawing on the example of LGSM and the NUM in the 1980s and beyond.

Solidarity matters, and our diversity makes us stronger, just like we see at Durham Pride.

So, join us this Sunday in Durham. Embrace the joy and hope that will fill our city; you will leave knowing you are loved.