We organised a party to welcome everyone back to Out In The City and to welcome some new members.
The event was presented by Ken and Lynn and featured singing, poetry and storytelling by David, Louise, Norman G, Norman W, Patrick, Pauline and Wolf (Derek, Will and Gary).
More great photos can be seen here.
Sadly, it was also the funeral of one of our members, who died recently after a heart attack. The party was dedicated in memory of Bruce.
Ode to Bruce
Today our friend was buried
A kind quiet man
Who enjoyed football and the pub
And trips out in England
A founder member of Out In The City
Bruce had close friends
His Buddies at the pub
His Buddies at Out In The City
And a large extended family
Who all loved his company
When you gave him the time
He was a special man
With hidden depths
Lets all remember Bruce today
Now he has gone
The Pride circuit struggles to redefine itself
We’ve seen New York, London, Brighton and now Montreal reclaim their prides with Boston and Philadelphia dissolving their prides to make way for a fresh new start.
Call it the summer of discontent: the LGBT+ Pride circuit is undergoing a revolution not seen since the Christopher Street Liberation Day March was held in New York City on 28 June 1970, to mark the first anniversary of the Stonewall Inn uprising of 1969.
That march inspired LGBT+ activists around the world to organise Pride marches of their own, including Montreal’s very first Pride march in June 1979, organised by La Brigade Rose, to mark the 10th anniversary of Stonewall. La Brigade Rose organisers drew 52 marchers in 1979. Forty years later, total attendance was 3.4 million.
The increasing commercialisation and corporatisation of Pride over the years is an issue that has polarised the LGBT+ community, more recently compounded by the politics of inclusion and representation in the wake of Black Lives Matter and the murder last year of George Floyd.
Calling themselves a “a people’s political march” members of New York City’s Reclaim Pride Coalition got the ball rolling in 2019 with their inaugural Queer Liberation March to mark the 50th anniversary of Stonewall, stating they were working “to reclaim the spirit and meaning of Pride to better represent the LGBTQIA2S+ community.”
At New York’s annual Queer Liberation March, there are no corporate sponsors and no police barricades.
This summer, the Reclaim Pride movement migrated across the Atlantic when the first-ever Reclaim Pride march was held in London on 24 July, to protest against the commercialisation and corporatisation of London’s huge Pride parade. Protestors held signs and shouted slogans in support of queer and trans civil rights, and denounced racism and transphobia within the LGBT+ community.
“We want to say that our human rights should be central,” said renowned LGBT+ activist Peter Tatchell, one of the organisers of London’s Reclaim Pride march. “As well as a celebration, Pride has to be a protest.”
In Philadelphia, after organising the Philadelphia Pride March and Festival for 28 years, Philly Pride Presents cancelled their 2021 parade and dissolved after community criticism over lack of diversity. Black LGBT+ community leaders in Philadelphia are planning a new Pride event and organisation. As ACT UP Philly organiser José de Marco told the Philadelphia Gay News, “Our planning has been inclusive of the entire community for the first time.”
A similar controversy claimed Boston Pride, which organised Boston’s Pride parade for 50 years. Accused of ignoring racial minorities and transgender people, its board of directors stated on 9 July, “It is clear to us that our community needs and wants change without the involvement of Boston Pride. We have heard the concerns of the QTBIPOC (queer, trans, Black, Indigenous, people of colour) community and others. We care too much to stand in the way. Therefore, Boston Pride is dissolving. … By making the decision to close down, we hope new leaders will emerge from the community to lead the Pride movement in Boston.”
QTBIPOC programming has increased dramatically at Fierté Montréal. “Racism exists in Quebec and those who deny it are part of the problem,” says interim director Jean-François Perrier. “Fierté Montréal was established in 2007 to celebrate the diversity, solidarity and resilience of the LGBT+ community. It’s our responsibility to educate ourselves, to question our ways and to decolonise spaces.”
Following the cancellation of their 2020 parade because of COVID, Fierté Montréal’s flagship event returns with a scaled-down, in-person Pride March on 15 August. Under the theme Together for All, it is a throwback to Montreal’s original Pride marches.
At this year’s Pride March, there will be no vehicles, floats or contingents. Banners, signs and streamers are welcome as long as respect and safety for all are observed.
“This year we are returning to our roots,” says Perrier. “This is an opportunity to make all our voices heard.”
Meanwhile in Manchester the Council meets LGBT charities to discuss the way forward
Manchester Pride announced cuts in funding to the LGBT Foundation and George House Trust. The partnership to fund the ground-breaking condom and lube distribution scheme is coming to an end, but LGBT Foundation pledges the scheme will continue. You can download the full press release here.
They reported that it was a very productive and positive meeting to discuss Pride and the funding of other LGBT charities.
The meeting agreed that:
1. The three charities each have a vital role to play in serving the LGBT communities of Greater Manchester.
2. The City Council will convene a meeting between Manchester Pride, LGBT Foundation, George House Trust and the Village Licensed Business Association after the festival, to explore how Manchester Pride can continue to support the work of the other two charities on an ongoing basis.
3. The City Council will actively work with LGBT Foundation and Manchester Pride to ensure the continued survival of the safer sex pack scheme.
4. Manchester Pride has agreed to conduct a transparent review during autumn taking views from a wide-reaching range of stakeholders and the community about the future direction of the Festival. The result will be published along with an action plan.
Manchester Street Poem is a co-produced art collective and charity, whose work reflects the personal experience of our city’s marginalised communities. Guided by the principle that there is ‘ no us and them – only us’, we aim to promote this viewpoint through art and storytelling in the belief that by exploring our shared humanity, we can break down barriers.
We’re aiming to run 6 sessions of workshops throughout September/October, using creative writing/storytelling as a therapeutic tool and to tell the lived stories of those part of the LGBTQ+ community.
Absolutely anyone who wants to take part is welcome and we have the resources to run these workshops in person at Islington Mill, or online via Zoom (we can provide technology to do this if necessary.)
It would be fantastic to have some of you involved, and we’re hoping to identify a group of participants before we decide on what times/dates as we want it to be suitable for the majority to attend.
If you are interested, please contact us.