Pride: More than a celebration

More than 160,000 people are expected to watch this year's Pride Community Parade
More than 160,000 people are expected to watch this year's Pride Community Parade

Brighton Pride is the single most popular visitor attraction in our city’s event calendar.

Brighton Pride is the single most popular visitor attraction in our city’s event calendar, bringing almost 2% of our annual visitors in just one amazing day.

This year, we expect more than 160,000 people to gather to watch the spectacle that is the Pride Community Parade as it winds its way from Madeira Drive to Preston Park - with a further 40,000 guests celebrating at the Preston Park Festival, as the UK’s biggest Pride event dominates the first weekend in August.

The city’s tills will be in meltdown as an estimated £13.8 million is spent in businesses across Brighton and Hove over the Pride weekend.

But it is important to remember that Brighton Pride is more than just a celebration, more than a party, and more than a great few days' takings for the city’s businesses; it is a unique yearly opportunity to put the spotlight on the plight of those LGBT communities around the world who do not have the same freedoms as are enjoyed in the United Kingdom.

On August 2, when the Pride Community Parade marches its traditional route through the city centre, it will include 78 placards representing each of those countries where homosexuality is still illegal.

In the year that the UK celebrates the advent of Equal Marriage, Brighton Pride will take the opportunity to use the media spotlight to focus on our LGBT brothers and sisters living in countries such as Oman, Somalia, Dominica, India, Tonga, Russia, Egypt, and Iraq, who do not enjoy the freedoms that we can so often take for granted.

The Live Stage at the Preston Park Festival will also give a platform to campaigners from this country and beyond to demonstrate why even in 2014, we really do need to keep on campaigning for the Freedom to Live.

Closer to home, Brighton Pride also performs a very important function in raising much needed funds for our city’s frontline LGBT organisations.

Last year, more than £43,000 was raised from Pride events and distributed via the independent Rainbow Fund to support local LGBT and HIV charities and organisations that really do change the lives of people living in our city. Organisations like Mind Out, The Clare Project, GEMS, and Peer Action directly benefit from every one of our Pride events; be it the Brighton Pride Arts and Film Festival, Doggy Pride, the Pride Festival in Preston Park, or this year’s inaugural Rainbow Run, a 5k fun run in Preston Park that will take place on Sunday, July 27.

Brighton Pride really is a community event, stilled in the belief that equality matters, that by campaigning and fundraising together we can achieve so much. Every ticket bought, every Pride supporting party, every proud business sponsor, every fundraising event, every donation, indeed every person can make a difference.

Please join us in making Brighton and Hove Pride 2014 the best it has ever been, fabulous, proud and with a purpose like no other.

[box type="info"]Paul Kemp is director of Brighton Pride.

For more information, visit: www.brighton-pride.org.