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Pride Trust - Our Community, Our Politics, Our Pride
Pride London can trace its roots back to 1972, when 2,000 Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Trans (LGBT) activists took to the streets to publically demonstrate, and call for the same rights and protections afforded to their heterosexual counterparts. Today London's Pride event sees almost 1million people take to the street to celebrate our community and its achievements, and continue the work for equality.
Tuesday 26th June, eleven days before the 2012 Pride march, the Evening Standard reported that the event was in serious financial difficulties. The next day Pride London organisers denied there were any problems. But on Thursday 28th June, they announced that Pride was being scaled back, with no floats or vehicles on the parade, an earlier start time and no official events in Soho. With an event that was set to attract over a million participants, they failed to apologies or identify that both individuals and participating charities groups and organisations were going to be significantly affected both financially and also politically.
Pride London is the largest Pride in the UK. This year, as the host of World Pride, its profile was particularly high. People from all over the UK and the globe are travelling to London. LGBT charities and Trade Unions have spent thousands of pounds on floats. Individuals have spent collectively even larger sums on travel and hotel rooms, to attend an event that won't even equal the annual celebration. Disabled and elderly people were depending on vehicles to allow them to take part in the parade. Many people will have been planning – some joyfully, some nervously – to come to their first Pride.
Pride belongs to LGBT people and our supporters and friends. We deserve better than this, and we can do better than this. We need a Pride for London that involves LGBT communities – including community and campaigning groups of every kind such as LGBT charities, trade unions, campaigning and student groups, commercial venues, and the LGBT media. We need a structure which starts from the principle that pride is owned by all of us and that Pride is more than a party - it is one of our communities most high-profile ways of coming together celebrating our achievements and campaigning for equality.
What we are calling for:
We need an approach to a Pride event in London that doesn't rely on the campaigning and right to assembly being determined by commercial viability. We need elected officials and public bodies to play their part. London Mayor Boris Johnson and the GLA should ensure core funding is in place for the event to enable this. It is our belief that the additional income to both London and its businesses from a vibrant Pride far outweighs these costs, and Prides from around the global such as Sydney and Tel-Aviv demonstrate this. Theresa May, Home Secretary, and Minister for Equality, identified this year the UK LGBT market was worth in excess of £70bn.
Pride organisers currently have to pay for policing, and pay more if the parade includes floats. We have a right to organise a Pride without having to pay the authorities, infact it is our belief that a Pride event in London is of such cultural and economic significance that is within the interests of the GLA to ensure it occurs. Similar community events such as Notting Hill Carnival, which attract similar amounts of attendees recieve grants of £250,000 from the Greater London Authority, and fits with the Mayor and GLA's strategies and corporate plans of:
i. Developing world-class events to promote London culturally and socially.
ii. Developing events that link to and support the Cultural Olympiad, and maximize the cultural benefits to Londoners from hosting the 2012 Games
iii. Promoting tourism and economic development in London
We, the LGBT community and London stakeholders need a discussion about how a modern Pride in London would work. We need an organisation that is both open and accountable, involves LGBT civil society groups as key stakeholders, and delivers for both the LGBT community and London.