The third annual Gay Pride march, the first in Cheltenham was apparently a great day - I sadly missed it but reports were that it was as ever a wonderful colourful procession of more than 100 people who marched from Pittville Park through town to Montpellier Gardens. I was also delighted that following my request Stroud District Council flew the Rainbow flag in support at Ebley Mill.
The march had plenty of rainbow flags, pink union jacks, whistles, three drag queens and drummer Christine Murray who led the procession. Below is some of the report by The Citizen/Echo and then below that a list of the Green party's key manifesto points from the Euro elections....
Here is the press report:
One of the organisers, Martin Homer, 23, said: "This is a countywide march and we want to alternate between Gloucester and Cheltenham. It's important to bring everyone together from across Gloucestershire, because we have a higher than usual proportion of gay people in the county."
Friends Clare Connerty and Chris Alcock, who live in Cheltenham, were glad the march was in their home town. Clare said: "I've been to Pride in Gloucester which was much busier, but it's the first one in Cheltenham. There's still too much homophobia about but it's great to see young people coming out and coming on the march and having fun. And it is about pride, because I love being gay."
Clare and Chris were wearing T-shirts with the phrases 'bian' and 'homo'. Clare said: "I made them myself. They're homo-made."
Carrying a large rainbow banner at the front of the parade was Chris Marsh, 41, who lives in Gloucester. He said: "Marches like this are even more important than the ones in London or Brighton, to show that gay people live in smaller towns and are just ordinary people getting on with their lives."
After the march finished in Montpellier Gardens revellers were entertained by bands and cabaret acts and mingled in the park, visiting stalls of support groups, clothing companies and police and fire service offering safety advice. Drag queen Queenie Del Bra, who had marched with her friends Dolly Hollywood and Miss Theresa Tittytassle, was one of the singers. She said: "I'm Cheltenham's only drag queen. Dolly made our costumes and they take an hour to get into, because I've had a lot of practice."
To contact Gay Glos for advice and support on any issue of being lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender call 01452 306800.
The Green Party launched eight pledges for equality for LGBT people this year...here is 'The LGBT Greens European Election Manifesto'.
The Greens will continue to campaign for:
* Full LGBT equality, including full partnership, insurance, pensions, employment, and housing rights. This includes campaigning to rid ALL EU member states of homophobic and transphobic discrimination in access to goods and services, such as insurance and mortgages.
* All EU member states to comply with the EU directive outlawing discrimination against lesbians gay men and bisexuals in the workplace.
* Equivalent and specific protection in society and in the workplace for trans citizens.
1. Greens will press for policing which reflects the diversity of the LGBT communities in the EU particularly in the new Eastern states, ensuring that homophobic behaviour by police officers is considered an explicit offence which can be remedied with disciplinary action. Also working with the police in deepening their relationship with the LGBT community, including LGBT organisations: improving the rapport between police forces and the LGBT community; addressing the continued under-reporting of hate crimes, and working with authorities to bring hate crime culprits to justice.
2. Greens will work to legalise same-sex marriages and registered partnerships across the EU, particularly in asylum legislation.
3. Greens will campaign to:
* Extend the EU definition of "family" to include LGBT partnerships
* Campaign for lgbt equal access to parenting and fertility treatment.
4. Greens will continue to lobby Police on non-prosecution of consenting, victimless gay offences, such as cruising. Police resources should be concentrated on violent, corporate and hate crimes and active, sustainable measures to create safer communities.
5. Greens will support a pan European HIV Action Plan:
* To improve safer sex education.
6. Greens will also campaign to:
* Cut transmission rates by remedying the financial hole in HIV services and large inadequacies in the provision and scope of HIV services.
* Upgrade the standard of treatment and after-care for people who have transmitted HIV. This will include pressing the UK government to resolve the under-funding and under-staffing of sexually-transmitted infection (STI) clinics.
7. Greens through their MEPs will lobby the European Commission to require all companies doing business with the European Union, or governments and local authorities within it, to be required to have equal opportunities policies that prohibit discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and HIV-positive people; thereby enabling local authorities to take a proactive role in encouraging businesses to end homo, bi and transphobic discrimination.
8. Greens propose to celebrate queer culture and history, for example by proposing the establishment of more Lesbian & Gay Museums.
See more: http://www.lgbtgreens.org.uk/