Sunday, 3 August 2008

A wonderful Pride - but it really needs to green up its act

Well it's the morning after the night before and all that... Pride 2008 was a wonderful celebration of all that's good about Brighton, and Kemp Town in particular. Gay and straight working together to prove that, here at least, it makes less sense than ever to talk about what makes the LGBTI and straight communities different, it's what makes them the same that matters most - our shared humanity, community-mindedness and freedom of spirit.

Of course there were leaflets from all sorts of weird and wonderful political and pressure groups, not least the Labour Party, talking up dissension and division, but the fascist BNP and homophobic Christian Voice seemed to stay away (or at least keep a very low profile) this year.

Proof, I think, that Pride 2008 was more about celebration of unity than diversity lay in the kind of organisations who had the biggest floats in the parade: the police, a church or two - even the Tory Party (!), all groups traditionally associated with institutional homophobia, all groups that seem to have grown up a little in terms of their attitudes to the LGBTI community (at least here in Brighton).

But although this year's Pride was a wonderful event, a celebration of so much that matters to us all, and a wonderful testament to all involved in organising - and participating - in the weekend's events, there's still room for improvement.

Though they were down on last year, there were still complaints from those living in and around St James's St and the Old Steine, about noise, litter and public urination. And you should have seen the state of the temporary camp site at Sheepcote Valley on Sunday!

Personally, I think Pride needs to 'Green Up' its act - employ some friendly 'green activisits' to point out the social and environmental dangers of hedgerow abuse (in the lavatorial sense!) and sort out waste collection and recycling. They can do it at Glastonbury, so why not Pride?

Failure to do so plays right into the hands of the homophobes who are just desperate for another stick to beat Pride (metaphorically) and LGBTI people (sometimes, alas, not) with.

Pic shows (l-r) some of the elected Greens on the Pride parade: Brighton Pavilion MP candidate Caroline Lucas MEP, yours truly, and fellow councillors Jason Kitcat, Paul Steedman, Vicky Wakefiled-Jerrett and Hove MP hopeful Ian Davey.

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