02 Nov Birmingham Live

Shameful homophobic incidents still show 'struggle for equality far from over' - Pride chief


Birmingham Pride boss Lawrence Barton has celebrated the huge success of this year’s event – but warned that the struggle for LGBTQ+ equality is far from over. Pride celebrated its 25th anniversary in style last month with an energised parade, marriage proposals and a star-studded lineup of performers including pop band Steps.

But despite this year's success, Barton said several recent instances of homophobia in the city are proof that the need for Pride has not gone away. In one instance, a student was subjected to a barrage of abuse and threats of violence by a man while on his way home from Birmingham Pride.

Just days later, during the recent Conservative Party Conference, it was reported that several attendees had to be removed from an event organised by LGBT Conservatives for using abusive language. Barton said that both these events restate the need for Pride as a 'protest movement.'

Pride boss Barton said: "I'm thrilled with how well Pride went this year, on the 25th anniversary of the festival. My utmost thanks to all the staff, volunteers, and emergency service personnel who made it possible, as well as all the acts and organisations who raised the bar so high for next year’s Pride.

"It is important the original intention of Pride does not get lost in the celebrations, however, as the recent shameful incidents in the city demonstrate. Pride is and always will be a protest for the rights and protections of LGBTQ+ communities.

"Every injustice, every insult, every assault must be accounted for when we march in the parade, when we learn from one another, and when we party into the small hours. We are already hard at work on next year’s Pride and look forward to welcoming new people and organisations as well as some old faces next May."

Barton also welcomed the high levels of engagement by local authorities and charities saying their involvement demonstrates the importance of Birmingham Pride in 'getting the voices of underrepresented communities heard.'

LGBTQ+ young people’s charity Just Like Us ran a school event during the festival which was attended by more than 50 pupils and teachers from across the West Midlands region. Dudley Council also participated in Pride for the first time in its history.

Tickets are already on sale for next year’s Pride which is due to be held over the Spring Bank Holiday weekend, May 27th and May 28th , 2023.

“Pride is and always will be a protest for the rights and protections of LGBTQ+ communities” Lawrence Barton
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