Birmingham Pride 2019 has No Outsiders

Out In Brum - Birmingham Pride 2019 - 1What a brilliant weekend!  The Birmingham Pride 2019 Parade was kicked off by Festival Director Lawrence Barton, who this year was joined by the deputy head teacher at the centre of anti-LGBT attacks at a Birmingham primary school, and two Muslim LGBT allies.  Andrew Moffat MBE, an assistant headteacher at Parkfield Community School has been the focal point of sustained and continuing homophobic protests by people who say that Andrew’s work on the “No Outsiders” programme is contrary to the Islamic faith (details on the BBC here).Out In Brum - Birmingham Pride 2019 - 55

The programme’s lofty aim is to teach primary age children that difference is to be neither feared nor threatened, focusing on the protected characteristics of the Equality Act 2010.  Such characteristics include sexual orientation, gender identity, and religion, but the programme teaches more widely about prejudice, freedom of speech, speaking up, bystanders, and immigration.  At the head of the parade Andrew was joined by prominent Brummy Muslim figures, Saima Razzaq from Supporting Education of Equality and Diversity in Schools (SEEDS), and Khakan Qureshi, founder of Birmingham South Asians LGBT.

There’s been much discussion ahead of this year’s Pride about the inclusion of the Black, Asian, Chinese and other ethnic groups, and it was great to see so many communities Out In Brum - Birmingham Pride 2019 - 13 - Naz & Matt Foundationrepresented in the parade. Poignantly given the recent discussion around our Muslim community, The Naz & Matt Foundation were also represented at the front of the parade – this foundation’s mission “is to never let religion, any religion, come in the way of the unconditional love between parents and their children”, and was set up when Muslim Nazim Mahmood tragically took his own life after confronting his parents about his sexuality.  He had been with his partner, Matt, for thirteen years.

I’ve been writing up Birmingham Prides since 2013, and this is my sixth write up Out In Brum - Birmingham Pride 2019 - 110 - NASUWT Balloons, I think
(somehow I missed 2014?!).  At those Prides we have commiserated and mourned with our global community around the terrible tragedies of Pulse Nightclub, the Manchester Arena suicide bombing, gay persecution across many countries, and the degradation of LGBT rights in the US under Trump.  We must though also remember we’ve celebrated the successes of the UK Same Sex Marriage act, and the Irish Equal Marriage referendum, and a world where LGBT people are becoming more visible in all walks of life.

I’ve seen complaints that this event is no longer free and that this excludes part of the community – the event is now an enormous festival with hundreds of wonderful acts Out In Brum - National Express 2019 Pride Busincluding those with international notoriety, and the attendant costs and security concerns around that are obvious.  If you think the on-the-day tickets are too pricey I’d suggest getting in early – early bird tickets are available about 8 months in advance and are much cheaper.

I’ve also seen complaints about corporations getting in on the act, and have seen this disparagingly referred to as “pink washing” and even “woke washing”.  While I’m sure there are companies out there who think they can manipulate their audiences to enhance sales there are also plenty of companies out there with staff that simply want toOut In Brum - M&S Pride Rainbow Cake and LGBT Sandwiches do the right thing – I should know, I’ve been one of those staff members in several of those companies! Some companies also give at least some profits from sales of Pride promotional items to charity, like M&S and their rainbow cake (disclosure: we were gifted the cake for the photos #itsnotjustanyfreebieitsanm&sfreebie). Birmingham Pride also donates its profits to charity.

This Pride has been another where I’ve partied with many friends old and new, laughed at brilliant drag artists, listened to awesome global acts, and generally had a brilliant time celebrating diversity.  Thank you to all the exhausted Pride staff and organisers for again delivering an entertaining, happy, and safe Birmingham Pride.

And now for the photos……


About outinbrum

Find out where to eat, drink, and be merry in Brum.
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