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July 6, 2012

IconWorld Pride 2012 | London: could the fiasco been avoided?

It’s old news that World Pride 2012 has been shambolic to say the least. It’s been plastered across news outlets and the little blue bird of Twitter has been chirping like a thing possessed about how an incredulous embarrassment has been washed across London due to the mismanagement of one of the biggest LGBT celebrations to hit our shores. With Boris Johnson refusing to have anything to do with it, and board members stepping down, it bodes the question, could this have been avoided?

A couple of months ago I was conversing with some friends about which prides to attend this year, and with a collection of fantastic ones dotted around the country, we felt spoilt for choice, especially as we’re based in North Wales so a big old trip was in the making.  Through my pride-search, I came across the website for World Pride 2012, and was seriously impressed with the fact that it was based right here in our wonderful capital city (London not Cardiff). Obviously, intrigue took over and I wanted to take a look at what was on offer, so I jumped on the website only to be met with… a load of nothing. I had no idea how to navigate it, the events page didn’t tell me Jack all, and it looked ridiculously boring. Common sense told me that this surely isn’t right as its World Pride for goodness sakes, so there must be some immense plans organised, so why weren’t they telling me this?

I felt underwhelmed, so that prospect was put onto the back burner whilst I considered other Prides.  If a website, one of the most important information outlets in this digital age, didn’t sell the event to the max, then there must be a problem.  I took to social media to find out more, which was another dead end, so I came to the conclusion that this isn’t worth my time.  If I felt like that a couple of months ago, and I was prepared to travel from North Wales for it, then how do they expect to attract worldwide browsers to come and get involved?

A  flurry of angry comments have been seen smashing onto World Pride’s Facebook page and other publications. People are disappointed and frustrated as the opportunity was a golden one to showcase our wonderfully diverse LGBT community here in the UK.  So, how did it get to be like this?

Many people are asking the big question: where was the funding?  Some are stating that the lack of funding and slashes to budgets is homophobic. Autostraddle claimed:

“There has been no problem with similar events, such as the Notting Hill Carnival, which attracts less people, but still receives the massive present of £250,000 annually, while the queers from around the world get a taped together recycled gift from the year before.”

Of course they are spot on! But, this isn’t a homophobic act, in my humble opinion, but utter mismanagement by a board of members who do not have the skills to meet the issues and problems that faced them.  There is funding potential out there, but the board were clearly unable to sell the event properly or market it as an attractive advertising opportunity (based on the sheer amount of people who had the potential to come and partake in the biggest LGBT party in the world!). Why didn’t the people in charge push for new companies to get involved? Why didn’t they work to paint the picture of how wonderful the values of such a big event are, which in turn would generate some great funding? Why did they think that enforcing a plan B would be OK less than a week before the event was set to take place?

Apparently, the celebrations in Soho are a no go, even though I had no idea there were things planned there to begin with. There are issues with crowd control, but now I wonder if they’ll have a big enough of a turn out to call it a crowd. The famous parade has been downgraded to a ‘procession’, although if the weather doesn’t behave, it’ll be a trudge in the rain. What was the reaction of the board? Well, the director Dr Patrick Williams has ‘stepped down’. Okay so someone has to be seen to be taking responsibility but I was told that running away from my problems never solved them, and I don’t understand why it is acceptable to walk away from a mess you have been involved in creating.

A number of statements were issued by World Pride in response to the fiasco, according to sosogay.com.  This is what they’ve had to say about Dr Williams:

“Pride London is today announcing that long-standing board member Tony Hughes has taken over as Interim Chair of the charity. The appointment follows the resignation of Dr Patrick Williams but will not affect this weekend’s World Pride celebrations.”

Dr Williams resigned from his position following criticism of the Board’s handing of World Pride 2012. The rest of the Board remains unchanged and committed to delivering an event London can be Proud of. As previously confirmed this will be a scaled-down event from the original plans.”

However, with all this grey doom and gloom surrounding an event which is to take place tomorrow that promised all the colours of the rainbow plastering London in such a fantastic fashion, I know that the passion of the LGBT community will be the strength and backbone of World Pride. British resilience to failure will shine through the mess, and I’m confident that the fun loving, beautiful souls who are committed to have an incredible time this weekend will make up for the shortfalls. Keep calm and party on.

2 Responses to World Pride 2012 | London: could the fiasco been avoided?

  1. Lola says:

    So many great idea’s…you shouod really become a board member, turn the future events around.

Ffion Davies

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