INTERVIEW: Jersey Gets Its Own Pride, We Speak With Its Chair, Christian May18th August 2015
Jersey’s Pride, which is to happen on the 12th September has a very dedicated Committee of twelve individuals (from across the LGBTQ spectrum) who are organising Pride, whilst still doing their day jobs!
What led to you wanting to get the first Pride going?
The idea for Pride, and the origins of Liberate in Jersey, grew organically out of a public march that took place in July 2014; when the members of our parliament (the States of Jersey) had refused to approve equal marriage legislation in Jersey (wanting more information first). The response to this was a powerful and positive public demonstration, when Islanders came together to give a message to the States that they supported LGBTQ rights and that they wanted equal marriage in the Island. The atmosphere that day was electric and hopeful; something we want to replicate in Pride.
Is there a big LGBT community? And how is the acceptance of LGBT issues on the Islands?
There was a strong (and reasonably large) LGBTQ community on the Island approximately 10 years ago, but this dissipated when the Island’s only gay nightclub, the Cosmopolitan, closed its doors.
Since Liberate came into existence we have held regular social nights to bring the community back together, and these have been going from strength to strength. LGBTQ individuals don’t suffer much harassment or active discrimination on the Island, but at the same time sexuality is an issue not much discussed publicly.
We want to ensure LGBTQ Islanders do not feel that they have to hide their sexuality in order to “fit-in” in work or social situations; that requires ongoing education and support.
Are you hoping to get the council and authorities to back the pride, have you had any talks with them so far?
We have delighted by the level of support for pride from the Government and the Parish (our town authority), as well as from local businesses, who are providing seed funding to get Pride up and running.
There is a great desire to build Jersey’s tourism industry in the coming years with Event-led tourism, and we hope that Pride could become a central and ongoing feature of this plan!
How many people are currently working towards putting the pride event on?
We have a very dedicated Committee of twelve individuals (from across the LGBTQ spectrum) who are organising Pride, whilst still doing their day jobs!
We are a very close group who luckily get on very well socially as well as when delegating tasks (you often need a drink after, or with, committee meetings). We are also being provided with plenty of offers of volunteer help – which will be essential to ensure the smooth running of Pride on 12 September.