Organising first Pride 'by accident' 1997
“I got involved with the first Pride 1997, almost by accident. I was
in between relationships so I had a lot of time on my hands. God knows
how I found out about it, but there were plans for a Pride. The initial
meeting was in a back room of a pub in Hockley. A group of women
thought, ‘If it’s all blokes it’ll be rubbish’, so I went along, and
they were electing people onto the first committee and the women
decided we needed some women on and someone nominated me, there was a
vote, it wasn’t split along men and women lines, and I ended up being
voted on, though I hadn’t intended to! There were only three women, one
was transgendered and died during the planning, the other, Polly
Goodwin, is still around. Bill Gavan was voted to be the Chair.
It was not the most positive experience, there was lots of infighting. It became very clear that there was a difference between what most of the men wanted and the women wanted, lots of community and family stuff, sitting down things, women’s stalls etc. Something that didn’t revolve around lots of loud music and getting pissed, and some of the men wanted that, and it was very hard to get a sense of community, to think about it. We brought a black bloke in from the Nightingale, Trevor Sword was speaking up for the disabled, people in wheelchairs etc and without us it would have been a three day piss up. Bill Gavan is perhaps not the best person to run a committee, as I know he would admit himself, as he likes to make decisions himself, so some things went through without discussion…… but it was interesting to be involved in something that was big, and it all came off. There was coverage in the local papers. It raised £10K, there was always an idea that any money would be go to local groups, but I wasn’t involved after that”.
Contributed by: Inge Thornton, 46