Eastbourne Pride event: equality is not a zero sum game

From: Jordan ThomasUpwick Road

Friday, 7th June 2019, 10:28 am
Eastbourne Pride 2018 (Photo by Jon Rigby) SUS-180723-110502008

On Friday, one irate reader wrote a letter complaining about BourneOut’s attempts to secure more funding from Eastbourne Council for Pride, ironically finishing “get over yourselves, get on with your lives”.

Eastbourne Council were providing just £500 support – no other guidance or help, which would force organisers to charge £5 entry – with £1.50 going to the council!

I agree cuts are devastating, but this is a national issue requiring policy change to remedy – the reader’s pitting disadvantaged people against each other, by mentioning care homes and children’s centres, is disgraceful. Equality isn’t a zero-sum game, LGBTQ rights aren’t some wishful add-on.

And while he is comfortable as “a man who happens to be gay”, LGBTQ means much more than just him. In 2017, a woman was successfully granted asylum in New Zealand due to transphobia she faced in the UK.

What does that say about Britain when New Zealand’s courts decided our transgender community suffer so much, it is impossible for them to stay?

He mentions life in Brunei and Pakistan, but I personally could never come out in Eastbourne.

Everyday at school, both teachers and students used homophobic language in “banter”.

Thanks to Section 28, schools are still terrified to acknowledge the existence of LGBTQ and recent events in Birmingham’s schools have continued this ignorance.

I was lucky college was tolerant because of diversity training, but even after leaving sixth form in 2014, I was still too afraid to tell anyone.

Just last year, one friend from town was told “not to come home” after coming out at university.

It’s worth noting queer people are over-represented in statistics on homelessness and poor mental health.

Therefore, we cannot be complacent because of gay marriage.

Acceptance takes decades, laws can change in the blink of an eye.

Events like Pride play a huge role in letting local queer people feel accepted, and building understanding with the wider community. It also brings media coverage, tourists and a lot of fun!

Eastbourne Council had every right to deny more funding as I know budgets are tight, but for a privileged gay man to complain in the Herald about the mere purpose of the event is disgraceful.

BourneOut have since secured funding and the event will remain free for all.

Being June, Happy Pride Season everyone, and long may Pride continue, as a beacon of hope and acceptance for everyone in our community.