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Former chair says Brighton Pride is failing the gay community

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  1. Really don’t like the idea of commercial, ticketed events (as per Manchester Pride). They are not accessible to the large proportion of our communities who are poor and/or unemployed due to discrimination; they tend to cater for the wealthy, White, middle class, male majority; and commercial events lose the historical perspective of what Pride events were about (and should still be), which is a protest about discrimination. Also, the article did not explore the difficulty that Pride committees around the country have faced in paying the increasing charges imposed by local authorities and police services for planning and providing fences for the march routes, policing and security, and street cleaning. These charges have increased steadily over the past few years and have taken more and more money away from poor community groups until they now take most of the funding and Pride organisations have gone into debt.

  2. Pride seems like an antiquated idea to me. If it wasnt for the fact that all most people in the park want to do now is get so smashed they cant walk and to take as many drugs as possible, then maybe it would still be true to its roots. It’s not suprising when druggy alcohol drenched kids want to crash the party when that’s all it seems to represent. I hardly think a big commercial party is the way to go so gay businesses who don’t ever come through with giving something back to the community is the way to go. If these people had done such a good job in the first place it would still be run by them.
    Sadly, I’m over it.

  3. quote: He added that the event was losing its gay identity

    is this not the case of most gay charities now. That there is an element in them that want us to be mirror images of straight people. 2.4 children , volvo and a black labrador. Many charties no longer stand up for the gay life style. We are fast losing our own identity.

  4. This idiot is really missing the point

    Brighton pride is the peoples pride, its easy going and not too commercial. People come from all over to Brighton pride because its the very opposite to what London & Manchester prides are.

    If it became a carbon copy of Manchester and London I not sure people will bother to go.

    Brighton pride is a giant street and beach party and that’s the way we love it.

    Keep the closed wrist-banded coca cola sponsored commercialisation out of Brighton pride.

    offers my response to pride last year. I wrote it the day after whilst trying to identify the reasons i was so disappointed with Pride 2010. We have booked to come the 200 miles to Brighton next year to meet with friends but may not make it up to Preston Park if there is no indication of change…

  6. I do not agree with commercialising the event because I think it would lose some of what it stands for. It’s important to remember that the business there should work for US not the otherway around. They are there to serve the people.

    I do think however that a mroe community focused Pride would be mroe beneficial. Smaller businesses being given a chance to get their names across would be ideal.

    I have to agree also that it has turned into a straight party. I last went two years ago and hated it. It was full of soap-dodging ‘swampies’ who were clearly only there for the ride.

    I can understand why peopel don’t feel safe.

    We need to take it back for us – to make it a celebration of the LGBT community. Not yet another market for Wild Fruit et al to plunder.

  7. Cassandra 6 Jan 2011, 1:40pm

    I went to Brighton Pride this summer and felt completely out of place as I hadn’t written GAY in lipstick across my chest. The party in the park really feels more of a gay St Patricks day, where everyone is Irish for the day. I’m not sure if this in itself is a bad thing, but the atmosphere in the park was uncomfortable and as the evening drew in I felt unsafe. I witnessed groups of straight lads taking the piss out of some of the more outrageous people. Pointing and laughing! This is exactly what I hadn’t expected to find at Pride.

    I doubt that commercialising it will really change this but charging people to get in, even a nominal amount might help!

    Most gay people in Brighton avoid the park for the reasons I listed, I’m very doubtful that I will bother going again.

  8. I’m astounded by the one sided coverage of this issue here and elsewhere.

    Will demolishing Brighton pride as a charity and setting up a business in its place make it more community friendly? Anyone who isn’t a white gay male on a decent income who has ever visited a gay bar or opened a magazine can answer that one.

    Will erecting gates and charging entry make it more community friendly? That’s what this business group are proposing. Brighton should be treasured as the last major LGBT space where everyone can go regardless of how much is in their wallet.

    Another thing their proposing is to clamp down on people bringing alcohol in. Not surprising from bar owners. At my first prides I was still on pocket money. Sneaking a beer inside the park was my only alternative to astronomical bar prices. Do we owe it to bar owners to pay their inflated prices? Brighton is flooded with hundreds of thousands on pride and the bars make a lot of their annual profits that day, but always talk about how they support pride out of the goodness of their hearts. I always donate to pride, but don’t feel that because bar/club owners have been supporting pride for years (flogging us drinks), we have a responsibility to keep their pockets lined.

    Privatising London pride plunged it into chaos for years. While many LGBT people in Brighton’s charities and community groups are horrified at the idea of commercialising pride even further and don’t believe the rhetoric about this alternative being community focused, their fearful of saying so to avoid being demonised as everyone else has been after putting their head above the parapet, only to have it cut off.

  9. Andrew Roberts 6 Jan 2011, 3:24pm

    I am Andrew Roberts, Chief Executive of Amro Worldwide, the gay and lesbian travel specialist.

    Having attended Brighton Pride for the last 9 years with our stand, I fully agree with David’s comments that it is becoming more and more straight.

    In the early days, we received comments that there was not enough variety in gay holiday outside of Gran Canaria, Sitges, Mykonos. As a result we found and developed gay holidays to many parts of the world including Mexico, Peru, Argentina, Costa Rica, South Africa and the US. We also launched a programme of holidays to lesbian resorts including a women only resort in Gran Canaria.

    In 2010, we produced a flyer specifically on gay and lesbian resort holidays but got a response from many visitors that we only do gay holidays – a clear indication that the event is attracting more and more straight people.

    Whether this is good or bad is a matter for the current organisers who need to decide whether Brighton Pride is simply a good party or an expression of gay/lesbian culture and lifestyle

  10. Andy Godfrey 6 Jan 2011, 3:25pm

    Whoa hang on a second here. Even if David Harvey is right that Brighton Pride is failing to support community groups, how on earth does it follow that this problem will be solved by commercialising it? If anything, the problem is due to depoliticisation and overcommercialisation!

    In any case, David Harvey’s version of events doesn’t sound much like my experience of Brighton Pride last year. Interestingly, I note that he wasn’t actually there himself. I thought the event was fantastic, inclusive and had a strong community atmosphere – far more so than any of the countless bland music festivals we get every summer. To my boyfriend, who isn’t out and comes from a conservative background, the whole event was a revelation about the level of acceptance that exists.

    Just because it’s fun, it doesn’t mean it’s not serving its purpose – in fact, given that it is supposed to be a celebration, why shouldn’t it be fun?

  11. Mihangel apYrs 6 Jan 2011, 4:45pm

    Pride is about “us”

    commercial events are for a subset of us, and not usually the ones needing venues, and not necessarily the ones who actually know what it’s about

  12. Dan Filson 6 Jan 2011, 5:58pm

    David says : “…as a charitable trust it could have acted as a field agent to much larger charitable trusts by administering LGBT grants locally” I am wary of charities acting as conduits for other charities acting as conduits for other charities etc. This is a formula for money never reaching its intended end-beneficiaries or causes. What are these “much larger charitable trusts” anyway – I have not heard of them?

    Danny says “I do not agree with commercialising the event because … it would lose some of what it stands for. It’s important to remember that the business there should work for US not the otherway around. They are there to serve the people. I do think however that a more community focused Pride would be more beneficial. Smaller businesses being given a chance to get their names across would be ideal.” The start and end of this contribution shows the contradictions in many contributors’ minds.

    I went on Pride marches 30+ years ago when we were campaigning for our rights. The activities at the end were wind-down opportunities, and they helped pay for the stewarding etc. Over the years the tail has increasingly wagged the dog to the point where any parade (as the marches became) is essentially a trailer for the Pride events to follow where businesses make bucks from a targeted market.
    I have no problem with businesses helping pay for the celebratory parts of Pride, but it is about or for businesses.
    As to the charity, if Brighton Pride is such, the trustees need to re-read their charitable objects and ensure they work to fulfil them; what goes on around them is a separate matter and unconnected.
    I wish Brighton Pride well and one day (before I peg out) will get to it.

  13. Dan Filson 6 Jan 2011, 6:00pm

    Whoops, I meant to say “I have no problem with businesses helping pay for the celebratory parts of Pride, but it is NOT about or for businesses.”

  14. what a crock of poo!

    all that David is suggesting is the very line which totally destroyed the London Pride over the past 10-15 years.

    Turning it over to a commercial event, ring-fencing it is complete poo-thinking.

    That route takes a community event and turns it from celebration into a monolithic money spinner where everyone starts feeding from the hand that feeds it.

    In london’s case this greed mentality destroyed Pride to the point where I don’t know anyone that goes any more (as opposed to everyone who used to go)

    Brighton is the last truly large community event in the UK and deserves to be cherished and protected not fed out to the highest bidder.

    The event has however mirrored the London Events of old (pre commercial) in that they too became over populated simply because of being aimed squarely as a ‘music festival’. In both cases this has had the effect of vast amounts of straight people coming along who may have no involvement with the LGBT cause in any way.

    Surely the way to deal with this is to highlight the days meaning – thereby ensuring that LGBT people maintain their visibility on the day itself and also benefit from post event PR to the wider communities.

  15. radical53 7 Jan 2011, 1:49am

    Our Mardi gras has been commercialised and mainstreamed for years. It also is very straight now, because of it, and does not reflect the gay community at all. I wish we could get rid of it. We also have to make a gold coin contribution to enter fair day etc. This is how it helps to fund the event. This also points to how commercialised the Mardi Gras is, especially now that many corporations are having a say in the parade, as they have their businesses represented in the parade. this is where it is sad. We don’t have a say in our Mardi Gras now.

  16. Previously it was called Gay Pride. An event that was for gay people and for those wanting to show support for equality. If you went last year, who was this event for ? I want stalls to either sell products aimed at the gay market only, or for those products deemed essential ( food/drink ) be run/staffed by gay people. A lot of stalls last year had no relevance to gay people at all. Making it an alcohol free zone would also make it less attractive to straight people just seeking a good time. Brighton does have a few gay pubs to use.

    I would like to be informed, educated, views challenged, entertained, and feel part of a Gay community once a year. Is that too much to ask a City that has one of the largest Gay populations in the Country ? If it means charging, so be it. When a lot of the gay residents of Brighton stay away, something is wrong.

  17. I go to Brighton Pride precicesly because it’s inclusive. We’re not living in the 70s and 80s anymore, when coming out was diufficult and we were persecuted. People are more accepting, and yet David Harvey is kind of throwing that back at the straight community – to me he’s saying we want you to accept us, but we won’t accept you. An event that is “gay hosted” and open to all – like Brighton Pride has become, can only help with tolerance – it is indeed nice to see families with their children there, as surely this will help educate children and thus help ged rid of Homophobia.

  18. de Villiers 7 Jan 2011, 2:30pm

    > Many charties no longer stand up for the gay life style. We are fast losing our own identity

    Perhaps this is the issue – between those that resist “privatisation” of the Pride march (although it was never state-run or nationalised and was always private) and those that prefer more business or corporate involvement.

    It is true that the “gay lifestyle” is dying if that lifestyle means dark windows, gay bars in basements, furtive sex in parks at night, fear of coming-out etc. We now have civil partnerships and can adopt children. In the ABC groups in society, homophobia is now seen as socially unacceptable. For many gay people, life and family life has become more conventional and, perhaps, conservative.

  19. Nicholas Orlando 7 Jan 2011, 3:00pm

    How bigoted can you get? Is this statement from the former chair not cruelly ironic? I think anyone with a sober mind would recognize the agenda at play here: a rather cynical attempt to regain control of a something trusted to the community. Think Tesco trying to buy up the local sports field.

    Surely the whole point is that such events lead to a harmonization between the LGBT community and wider society? ‘Too many straights?’ Well guess what, welcome to the world. If the ‘gay community’ want to exist in a private space they may as well go back to the Stonewall Inn. If the business world want to make some money out of the gay brand perhaps they could acquire some land and start a gay theme park akin to Asterix World?

    The less ‘gay’ pride becomes, actually – the better! Shock horror. The white, male, pink-middle-class-set of Brighton should make the most of the world they have got, because sorry dears, change is coming. You have asked the world to accept you – not you have to return the gesture.

  20. I find some of the comments really interesting. For years the LGBT community wanted to be “normalised” and given equal status to mainstream hetrosexual society. While it may not be completely there … acceptance and tolerance has come along way. This said, what is the problem with Pride celebrations which are about diversity and it doens’t matter who attends: LGBT, hetrosexual etc – we all get on and it’s a celebration of everyone being unique. I’m fed up with on-going commercialisation of humanity. I now go to “straight” bars because the gay (generally) ones don’t have reasonable prices. Maybe we need to start combining all the sub-groups and have a let’s celebrate being unique party and it doesn’t matter who comes along. I might be gay but it doesn’t make me better than someone who is hetrosexual who can stand up and say my mate is gay – so what! As for the commercial element – keep it as a charity – the money makers fleece us all year round – ground celebrations in humanity not if you can afford to be there!

  21. Nick Wilson 7 Jan 2011, 4:39pm

    Just for the record guys
    Pride (the existing charity);
    – is also proposing to fence the park and charge entry to the event.
    – Many of the ‘new trustees’ have had or continue to have a financial interest in the event – one has been selling Pride merchandise for the past few years and continues to do so and two of the trustees were previous sponsors of the event. Another trustee runs a local hotel that benefits directly from the event.
    – none of the local LGBT groups or charities receive any funding from Pride any more and have not done so for the past couple of years. Many of these groups also complain they receive very little or no communication from Pride
    – any monies raised from Pride go solely to the costs of the event and the very well paid staff – interestingly the wages bill more than doubled some 3 years ago prior to the event falling into annual deficits.

    The alternative bid;
    – is led by at least three of the leading LGBT community groups in the city
    – will ring-fence a large proportion of ticket sales to go directly to local LGBT groups and charities
    – is made up of very experienced volunteers, community groups and contractors who were involved in Pride for many more years than the existing body and had to leave or were forced out over the past few years ago.

    Now who wants to talk about ‘commercialisation’ and take your pick which bid is more commercial…..?

  22. David Harvey:
    > “My understanding is that some of the people running it are
    > straight. If you work on a cricket magazine, you have to like
    > cricket.”

    I just hope he isn’t referring to heterosexual trans people.

  23. Pride Brighton (The Offical Alternative) 10 May 2011, 11:48pm

    There is a alternative, Pride Brighton (The Official Alternative) will be having events all across the city ran by local community groups, this is supported by national campaigns like the NUS LGBT as well as local community groups, organisations and businesses that understand the current Pride is nearing being bankrupt and may do so before the event itself and that it is inaccessible and offers nothing for the local community. Save Pride and attend the alternative!

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