CROYDON COMMENTARY: The borough’s Pride festival last weekend found a town centre location that worked well. CATHERINE SHELLEY congratulates the organisers and offers a couple of suggestions
The buzz around Queen’s Gardens on Saturday suggested that people enjoyed the second staging of Croydon Pride, when lots of rainbows made up for lack of sun. A third year is surely on the cards.
Drag acts, transport police asking to dance with the drag acts, new stars and several after-parties all made for a good day – and night. Stalls from Amnesty and the presence of Rainbows Across Borders kept a political edge to Croydon Pride, reminding us that such celebrations and openness are a luxury not shared across most of the world.
Domestic politics was also represented in the shape of a couple of Unions (CWU and Unite), the Greens, who have been attending Pride events since long before it was politically fashionable, and the Tories, who are later to the Pride party. A number of Labour councillors were spotted round the bar tent, but why no Labour stall?
It was also good to see Christians at Pride flagging up that religion isn’t always hostile to the LGBTQ+ community.
So huge thanks to those who made this year’s Croydon Pride happen and especially to those behind the scenes and lining up the music and gigs on the stage.
The new venue was a success, widely acclaimed as a great improvement on Surrey Street last year. It is therefore a shame that current plans to build on Queen’s Gardens mean that next year Pride will have to move yet again, with Park Hill rumoured to be the next venue – and probably a less convenient one, being further away from the town centre. If this can be reconsidered it would be appreciated as a central venue is likely to be more of a success.
And another friendly suggestion – perhaps some thought can be given to the date so that it doesn’t fall a week after London Pride? If we’re going to celebrate and campaign properly we need to spread out our Pride treats throughout the year.
- Catherine Shelley was the Green Party candidate in Croydon South in the 2017 General Election
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