In great news for faith – based supporters of London Pride, Community Pride+ has won the contract for the 2013 Pride Festival, and possibly through for a full five years.
In previous years, the visibility of LGBT faith groups has increased markedly, but this has been without any notable support from the organizers. Last year, these groups had not even a mention in the glossy Pride brochure, and none of the numerous religious events were listed in the Pride calendar on the website – until there were threats to take the matter up officially as a discrimination against religion, and so an offence under the Equalities Act. Then, very smartly, listings suddenly appeared on the website. In neither 2012 nor the previous year, were faith groups able to secure stalls at the Trafalgar Square Festival, which had been so valuable in previous years.
This year should be different. The winners of the contract, Community Pride+, have based their case on the importance of full community participation, and have explicitly stated that this must include the religious groups. This is not mere lip-service, either. Until the poor weather conditions intervened, “Christians Together at Pride” (an interdenominational coalition of diverse groups) was to have had their first meeting this evening – and Stephen Ward from Community Pride+ had promised to attend.
Last year, CTAP and other faith groups held a number of valuable events – and were routinely ignored. This year, the organizers are asking all community groups to arrange their own events, to boost the week – long festival, as well as just the Pride March and Saturday events alone.
One of the big differences about us and our plans for Pride in London is that we’re also encouraging community groups and businesses to run events under the Pride banner in the week running up to Saturday 29 June. We will promote those events at the heart of the week-long Festival of Pride.
– more at Queering the Church.