As Brighton Pride sparkles on the horizon of the weekend, and Facebook is awash with people looking for tickets, we talk to Pride and big gay veteran Mark Phillips about the division over this year’s event…
“I’ve not really said much about Pride this year, because so many people are complaining over many different things. I’ve been on many gay Pride marches in the past (the more political ones); if you’ve seen the film Pride, that’s almost the story of my life. My Welsh father found out I was gay as I marched along with my big burly mining cousins from Senghenydd. Not many people know that!
“And I attended the first gay Pride in Brighton, finishing on the Level, so think I’m justified to comment. And there’s a lot of issues washing around, which I think is a shame.
“The first is about it being called Brighton Pride as opposed to Gay Pride. I think the parade still demonstrates that so much more needs to be done for equality, but by being a more inclusive Pride, surely that’s a good thing?
“Next up is about people moaning about having to pay. To be honest I did prefer the less structured Prides when you could bring your dogs, kids, picnic etc and dip in and out of the fun. I would always put 40 quid in the collection box thinking that was enough for a top day’s entertainment, but I just know loads of people contributed nothing. If everyone put something in the collection tins it probably would still be free (I’d bet the moaners didn’t).
“I’m sure people realise it cost a hell of a lot to put on an event like this, don’t they? With security being a big factor, how do people think Paul Kemp, Dulcie Weaver and the rest of Pride committee pay for it?!
As for it being called the Britney show… I don’t think people realise how much she does for LBGTQ rights
“Now (and here’s this year’s big one) as for it being called the Britney show… I don’t think people realise how much she does for LBGTQ rights and equality and communities. She does lots of fundraising, ie she did a concert for Orlando, so don’t knock her (hasten to add she’s not my favourite). And let’s face it, having a headliner like this is going to draw loads of people, and raise lots of money for our causes, right?
“Another gripe is about people asking why the gays get their own a day. Well to be honest it’s a pretty straight world the rest of the time. And Brighton Pride is all inclusive. In an ideal world, every day should be everyone just getting on with each other, no matter what sexuality, faith, colour etc. We can but dream.
“I came out forty years ago and whilst loads has changed, I still personally don’t feel 100% safe holding Philip Carr’s hand in the street after 17 years together, and that’s wrong; but this weekend it’s cool. So maybe that’s a good reason for gays having a day.
“Sorta wish I was doing the park this year as it seems to be getting extra interest but due to ill health earlier in the year missed out… on the plus side though, we can’t escape the fun and japes at the street party as we live just off St James’s St, so no avoiding that!
“We’ve still a long way to go, and can be our own worst enemies sometimes, but a good old knees up is what the Brits do well, bringing everyone together. Let’s remember the spirit of love and inclusiveness and stop grumbling?
“Wishing everyone a fun-filled, safe Pride. Oh, and remember the sun cream! XXX”