Community News

Pride organisers join forces with new national network

Gary Hart October 21, 2016

New national network of LGBT+ Pride organisers from around the UK established at Birmingham conference earlier this month.

UKPON Conference

The UK Pride Organisers Network ‘UKPON’ aims to “bring together Pride organisers to share best practice, ideas, learn together and network”.

In addition to two conferences each year, UKPON plans to offer webinars and online support, and to represent Prides at a national and international level.

There are currently 98 LGBT+ Pride events around the UK and some calculations suggest as many as 3 million people are thought to have attended a Pride event in 2016.

UKPON’s executive committee, which meets for the first time today, Thursday, October 20, comprises representatives of Pride events in Reading, Cardiff, Coventry, London, Hull, Gloucestershire, Oxford and Winter Pride.

The new organisation has already been represented at an international pride conference in France at the weekend.

Co-Chair of UKPON, Steve Taylor, said: “Pride is a vital movement for human rights and equality around the world. In the UK, where we have more Prides than any other country in Europe, we want to increase the visibility and viability of every Pride, so that they are a beacon of hope for the rest of the world.”

Delegates at the conference earlier this month signed messages of love and support for Pride organisers in Istanbul, Turkey which was cancelled by police, and in Kampala, Uganda, where police raided an event and many LGBT+ activists were assaulted and imprisoned.

Kristine Garina
Kristine Garina

Kristine Garina, President of the European Pride Organisers Association, who attended the conference, said: “It’s fantastic to see so much energy and passion for the Pride movement in the UK, and it was an honour to speak to organisers at their recent conference and address issues of LGBT+ rights and human rights that are at the core of Pride. The European Pride Organisers Association shows how much we can achieve when we work together and how important is the solidarity and support we can give each other. I hope that the new Network will increase the visibility of LGBT+ equality in the UK and internationally.”

Commenting on the creation of UKPON, Co-President of InterPride Brett Hayhoe said: “I salute the UK Pride Organisers Network and look forward to working with them in solidarity, unity and community. I wish them the best of British for a successful collaboration, today and for many years to come.”

Mr Hayhoe added: “The international InterPride theme for 2016 is ‘solidarity through pride’. In the light of recent world events, this theme and the global pride movement has never been more relevant and important for all LGBTI people around the world.”