Pride feedback

Pride In Brighton & Hove have asked for feedback. By 17.09.10. So we got on to it. Apparently if you feedback by today you’ll be invited to the official feedback event later this month. “(No feedback, no invite!)”

See below our feedback for Pride’s requirement and the questions they want answered.

Here’s ours.

Something has to change. The event had so obviously outgrown both Preston Park and, as the deficit shows, the amount the LGBT community can afford to pay. Year in year out local charities, businesses and individuals fundraise and fundraise and yet we are still left in the red. Although the collections on the park surpassed last years total, there needs to be more visual collections to ensure further funds are generated from the thousands on the park. We also felt the park was unsafe – at times the event felt anything but gay, happy or safe and the feeling of celebration was hard to capture whilst crushed in a queue or fending off drunken youths. So many friends and visitors to Brighton told us of the homophobic treatment they received from certain people on the park and just how unsafe they felt.

A serious rethink needs to occur r/e both sponsorship and safety. With out these the Park celebrations can not go ahead.

Pride also needs to reconnect with the local LGBT community. Communication has never been worse. At times Pride press releases created more questions than they answered and although the community appeared to come together in the last few weeks before the event – in a effort to ensure it took place – we cannot help but feel the discontent will arise again in the very near future.

Pride needs to examine the tendering process, so heavily pushed at one point in proceedings and then so handily ignored only weeks before the event.

Pride also needs to connect with the local ‘straight’ community – particularly those living near Preston Park. Headlines regarding rubbish and fires will not build bridges with neighbourhoods and Pride needs to ask how this can have ever been allowed to happen.

At various festivals we’ve attended over the years the ‘Leave No Trace’ ethos has been adhered to – with great effect – and if festivals four times the size of ours can managed it why not at Preston Park?

We would also suggest that a ‘heritage’ committee is formed. This committee would be made up of members of the community who live, work and campaign in our city and would be there to advise the trustees. Forming a link between the voluntary sector, charities and businesses, this committee could liaise between the groups and work with the trustees to ensure the history of the event, the roots and the reasons we took to the streets in the first place are remembered, acknowledged and allowed play a role in shaping any future Pride events.

Possibly two or three members of this committee would be giving the voting rights of trustees. This would avoid moments such as the removal of life long supporters like Wild Fruit, Popstarz or the Womens Centre from the Park and ensure trustees would remain connected to the campaigning / political side of Pride. There needs to be a reality check when it comes to dealing with local independant LGBT businesses and charities. Often they are ‘gambling’ a years income to play a role on the Park or be part of the Pride week. There needs to be a better understanding and appreciation of the risks this businesses take each year. We truly feel that so many of these organizations and businesses do not see Pride weekend as a license to print money but a festival and statement they wish to play a proud part in.

We think it is vital that connections are made with all businesses in Brighton & Hove who benefit from the influx of visitors. We lost count of the number of so called ‘Pride’ parties we were invited to. But just how many will be raising funds or donating a door percentage to Pride? As for hotels and retail there also needs to be a real effort to connect and fundraise through them.

You may feel as DJ’s who work for Aeon Events (as well as other promoters / businesses / venues) we have a vested interested in how how Pride is run but we are Brighton residents first, DJ’s second and have always supported Pride since it’s early Pink Picnic / Pink Parasol days. However as queer Brightonians we feel it is vital that Pride in Brighton & Hove review not only the events / celebrations but the organisation of Pride. We want to feel that Pride represents all of us, that Pride acknowledges the history it has and delivers a safe and decent Pride for all.

We feel in the current global climate where so many LGBT people are persecuted we need to stand beside these communities. Twin our Pride with a Pride suffering discrimination. Highlight the plight of LGBT men and women in jails across the globe. If every press release, every event, every float etc had a visual connection to a community or individual who are fighting oppression we could make a difference.

Finally for us the biggest reason we felt such disappointment with Pride in Brighton & Hove this year was it total lack of donations to charitable organisations. This cannot continue. Maybe the time has come to stop offering Pride In Brighton & Hove’s services as advisers to other Pride and instead ask other successful UK and European Prides for advise. Something has to change.

The deficit, the community dissatisfaction and the LGBT business’ unease must be addressed.

We sincerely hope Pride finds a way to do so.

Regards

Queen Josephine & Kate Wildblood.

PS As for moving the date of Pride surely a city with the resources of Brighton can do both? Having settled into our first weekend of August slot we risk clashing with many essential summer events if Pride is moved to any other date.

Pride’s request for feedback can be seen here http://www.brightonpride.org/news.php?id=959

“Email your feedback to the questions above to office@brightonpride.org or post them to Pride in Brighton & Hove, 6 Bartholomews, Brighton, BN1 1HG and remember to include your name and email address or a contact telephone number so we can invite you to the feedback meeting.

All feedback to arrive at the Pride office by Friday 17th September 2010.”