Wednesday, 4 July 2012

A Pride which is a Shame - excluding older and disabled LGBT people

This email from Age UK London's Open Door Coordinator to older LGBT members in London sums up the sheer anger and frustration from many older and disabled LGBT people who are being excluded from Pride this year. We are either a community for all or we are nothing.

Dear friends and colleagues

Further to the e-mail sent on Friday which contained the July edition of the Opening Doors London newsletter.  As advised, due to the changes and cancellations announced by Pride London, Opening Doors London has had to cancel the brunch (our planned start time for that conflicting with the new start time of the “procession” at 11am), and similarly with the changes in times to other events for the day, we have had to cancel the older LGBT community space at St Anne’s.

In regards to the parade itself, Pride London has announced an exclusion of vehicles from the procession, so we no longer have the Older LGBT Community open decked bus serving as an access vehicle for those wishing to take part but who wouldn’t be able to walk the parade route.

However we also had the Older LGBT Community booked in as a walking group.  Age UK Camden’s Opening Doors London project, although lead agency for involvement at Pride, has maintained this space to allow for other older LGBT groups and individuals taking part.  We HAVE NOT cancelled the Older LGBT Community walking group allocation.  Whilst we are totally opposed to the decision made to bar vehicles from the parade, effectively preventing less mobile and/or disabled people taking part, after much discussion and consideration of all options available, we believe that the older LGBT community still demands a presence and a voice and their rightful place at the front of the parade..  There wouldn’t be a Pride without our older LGBT men and women.

On speaking with several of the members, many are still planning on coming along and taking part in the procession anyway, so Opening Doors London will be there unofficially/officially.  Pride London has stated “let’s take the parade back to its roots”.  Well, we intend to do just that, with a few well worded placards and banners too… Please feel free to bring your own, lets really show Pride how LGBT veterans campaign!!  We just regret that many of our friends won’t be able to join us on the day due to the cutbacks and not having our bus!

Pride has advised us that we will be in the Red Section Number 21 in the parade. Line-up is in Baker Street with the red section being between Fitzharding Street up to George Street and you should arrive from 10:15am to 10:30 am for an 11am start. We will have our usual “Older LGBT Community” banner.  But like I said please feel free to bring your own banner.

As you know, months have gone into planning our celebration of World Pride, not just for the older LGBT community, but for LGBT groups and individuals everywhere, at considerable investment in time and money to groups and to individuals. This has now been LOST!   To have the parade scaled down, vehicles barred (especially our older LGBT access bus) and whole sections of the day is a total disgrace.  We assure you that we at Age UK Camden’s Opening Doors London, along with colleagues throughout the LGBT sector, will be pushing for an investigation into how we were allowed by different organisations involved to arrive at this shambolic affair.

Maybe see you on Saturday.

Best wishes

Nick Maxwell

LGBT Development Coordinator (men)
phone:  020 7239 0446

Age UK Camden
Tavis House, 1 - 6 Tavistock Square, London, WC1H 9NA

Reception: 020 7239 0400

Fax: 020 7383 2550

Now to be known as Age UK Camden

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