A personal view from Mark Healey – How can we save Pride?

How can we rally the LGBTQI Community to save WORLD PRIDE?

We have four working days

First of all, let us be clear about one thing – we have less than a week to rally the LGBTQI Community to save WORLD PRIDE. We can spend the next four working days apportioning blame, posting points that have yet to be established (are they fact or fiction or a mix of the two?) or we can set aside all our differences as best we can and work together to seize this opportunity to reclaim our Pride, and make sure that WORLD PRIDE is something that we can all be proud of.

We have a unique situation because the Diamond Jubilee and the Olympics have helped to put London and World Pride centre stage. Thousands of LGBTQI people suffering in hostile places around the world will be looking to us to do our best to save the day.

This is our chance to encourage those at the top, middle and bottom to realise that somewhere along the way Pride has lost its direction and that we need to work together to get it back on track. We will have plenty of time after the 7th to look at what has happened and work out what is the best way forward for future years, but let us focus on that debate later.

The march is the most important thing to save

Most people agree that the march is the most important thing to save. Call it what you will (a parade, a procession, a carnival or whatever) the fact is it is a march. We gather at one point and make our way together to another point. The march is the best way to show our solidarity, for all groups and organisation to show that we will stand proud together and that we will continue to do so until LGBTQI rights/human rights are universal.

We need to focus on rallying hundreds of thousands of people to get dressed up, bring their own banners and be creative; to make this the loudest, proudest demonstration of our love and solidarity in living memory. We did it before when we were fighting Section 28 so we can do it again. We need to show Westminster and the World that we won’t be treated as second class citizens in our own country and that we are not going to let what has happened this year dampen our spirits. This is a chance to show our real pride.

There are already hundreds of thousands of people planning to join us in central London so let’s make sure that this is one day that everyone will remember for the right reasons. Let’s work with each other, the hundreds of stewards that have already been recruited, the council and the police to make sure this is a safe event.

If individuals want to whip up anger and dissent then let’s ignore them and get on with making the most of our day. It will be amazing.

Let the floats park along the route of the parade

All the planning and preparation has been done – so I can’t understand why the floats and walking groups can’t continue at the same  time as originally planned – that is something that Pride London, Westminster Council and the Westminster Met Police will have to explain.

The only solution that I can think of is to let the floats park along the route of the parade – so that we can at least march past them. That way they can still be involved and will be seen by everyone. It also reduces some of the health and safety issues of having the floats in the parade.

Pride London has their contact details and has also mapped out the route of the march so they could liaise with Westminster Council and the Police to see if this could happen.

If this is still not possible – then each float organiser needs to be encouraged to organise a photo shoot of their float so that we have hundreds of pictures of their floats that we can share all over the internet and promote the good work that these organisations are doing. In fact, we could do our best to make sure that those who have helped sponsored World Pride are given as much positive publicity as possible (so hopefully they won’t be put off and will come back and sponsor future events).

Picnics in the Parks, and fun and frolics on the scene

Most LGBTQI venues will already have made their plans for the day, and no doubt that places like Soho and Vauxhall will be extremely popular destinations.

Again – all the planning and preparation for closing off Soho including late licenses, public safety and so on has been done – so I can’t see why this has been overturned. Only Pride London, Westminster Council and the Westminster Police can explain this.

What we need is the LGBTQI Businesses in these areas to use their existing forums to get together and work out a plan of what they can do within the boundaries that have been set out for them.

Given the circumstances all of us need to publicly call upon the council and the police to be supportive to them because this could turn out to be a huge public relations disaster for all parties concerned (reflecting poorly on London and the UK) if they don’t work collaboratively together.

We also need to let the LGBTQI businesses that are currently doing nothing to help fundraise and promote Pride that it’s time this changed. If they want our custom then we need to see them giving something back to the community as well (and there are some fine examples of some great venues that already do a lot for the community).

Given that Soho and Vauxhall are going to be extremely busy, one suggestion that has been put forward is to organise an afternoon of community picnics in the parks – which are free for us to use.

Perhaps instead of walking back to Soho after the end of the march we could spontaneously descend on Green Park (which would be a fitting place to hold a Pride Picnic this year).

The only word of caution here is that afterwards we leave the parks clean and tidy as we would expect to find them (as otherwise the homophobes and haters will use photos of the rubbish left behind to further condemn us and prevent future Pride events from taking place).

Gay Business Association and the LGBT Consortium

We already have at least two organisation that have been set up to represent LGBT businesses and community organisations. We don’t need to waste energy recreating the wheel so I would suggest that they work together to conduct a thorough investigation of recent events so that the truth does out.

Further, that they collaborate together with others (including Stonewall and the Peter Tatchell Foundation) to set up a London wide council to represent the interests of LGBTQI Londoners. It should be independent but able to work in partnership with the Greater London Authority and other agencies. This council of representatives should be elected with the primary purpose of ensuring that future pride events are organised in a manner that is inclusive of all aspects of our communities.

A secondary purpose of the council would be to work within each of the boroughs to ensure that LGBTQI services and support are provided adequately across the capital. To work with all agencies to ensure and promote ongoing community development so that our communities continue to come together and thrive in the long run.

It is up to each and every one of us.

It is up to each and every one of us to make World Pride a day that we can be proud of. I know that I along with others who have been involved in the 17-24-30 no to hate crime campaign will be marching in the blue section on the 7th July and that we will make the most of the day. We will be handing out flyers, and raising awareness of the need to tackle hate crime within our communities whilst at the same time be part of something which is much bigger than what we do.

Pride is about us all. It is about our love and our need for solidarity with each other.

Together we have already come along way, and changed many things for the better but we still have a longer way to go which is why this World Pride event is so important not only for ourselves but for the hope that it inspires in others as well.

Working together we can and we will save Pride, and more importantly seize this opportunity to ensure that the legacy of Pride is something that we can all be proud of including everyone from those who marched on the first gay pride march back in the 70s to those who will join us for the first time on the 7th July.

Look forward to see you on the 7th,

Mark Healey

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About mhealey

Founder of 17-24-30 No to Hate Crime Campaign
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3 Responses to A personal view from Mark Healey – How can we save Pride?

  1. Simon Seatha Defenu says:

    I will be there like access stewart or whatever need! We must go on

  2. Wayne roots says:

    I have just bin 2 gay berlin pride gr8 organised put 2gether event why cant london do this its a joke i will b there march and b in travalger square always attend but ldn needs to sort this we av a gr8 time anyway wot time it starting and wot route and wot on at the square facebook let me know wayne roots c u there x.y

  3. Wayne roots says:

    Ill b there wots the route is the square travalga still doing anything happy pride c u there we will make it the best ever even without floats email details thanxs x

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