After Meeting With Daniel Lee of Proactive Diversity, Swindon Pride Opens Its Function To All 18 Year-Olds & Over

After Meeting With Daniel Lee of Proactive Diversity, Swindon Pride Opens Its Function To All 18 Year-Olds & Over

On Monday 21 March 2011, Proactive Diversity founder and chair, Daniel Lee and Patrick Hargreaves, Proactive Diversity co-chair, met with Swindon Pride chair Jo Sharpe and that organisation’s co-chair Tracey Doran, discussing concerns detailed in the following article that brought outrage from members of the UK’s GLBT and other gender and sexual minorities. Once these points reached ears of Swindon Pride’s other committee members in a second meeting later that same evening, Swindon Pride dropped their stance of making this event open to ‘ladies only’ and ‘those who identify as female’, resulting in an event all legal-aged persons. Now, this is an event all can enjoy, and should support. Money raised helps fund this year’s Pride Event taking place 06 August 2011.

Demand the Cancellation of Swindon Pride’s Ladies Night, scheduled for 02 April 2011.

The following advertisement for a local event, hosted by Swindon Pride – a GLBT organisation, has caused quite a stir. The official website for this event is: http://www.swindonpride.com/whatson/events/ladiesnight

Ladies Night
Swindon and Wiltshire Pride are excited to be hosting a Ladies Night at The Bell Hotel in Old Town on Saturday 2nd April.

To make the event one to remember we have an amazing line up.

The evening will start with some top class humour and song from one of the UK’s established Drag Queens and followed by not just 1 but 2, yes 2 hunky male strippers. If that’s not enough there will be a hot buffet of treats, some naughty pleasures with the lovely Ann Summers Girls, Topless Waiters and Polefect fitness will be there showing you how it’s done, plus The City Beauty Co will be on hand with fragrances and cosmetics at discounted prices.

There is a strictly over 18’s and Ladies only policy for this event

Ticket cost is £20 which will include a welcome drink and a hot buffet.

———————————————-

My problem with this event is one of discrimination and exclusion, the core of what every GLBT, or human rights organisation in general, is supposed to oppose.

When asked the reason why men are excluded, I was told by Jo Sharpe, who chairs Swindon Pride, “We are NOT discriminating or making it off limits to anyone, we are however bound by certain laws regarding events like this.”

Firstly, when terms and conditions state ‘there is a ladies only policy for this event’ I fail to see how she claims Swindon Pride ‘is not making the event off limits to anyone’.

Senondly, I asked her to cite the ‘certain laws’, yet she did not. Interestingly, according to the actual ad, there will be “one of the UK’s established Drag Queens and followed by not just 1 but 2, yes 2 hunky male strippers.” If it is illegal, according to Sharpe, for men to be in attendance, how does the drag queen and hunky male strippers avoid breaking the law by attending? How do the male officers of Swindon Pride, who are attending, avoid incrimination?

Whilst I applaud any organisation doing what it can to raise money and bring attention to the GLBT movement, it should not be at the very expense of a portion of the population that group represents.

Hosting a fundraising event and excluding the entire male population – gay men included – by a GLBT group supposedly fighting for equal rights and acceptance is not different from an animal rights group raising money by selling furs.

As for not being able to please all of the people all of the time, I agree. If this were an all-inclusive event, nobody could complain. Now they say anyone who identifies as a woman will be admitted. Some whose birth certificate says female do not identify this way. I am not trying to split hairs, but work with people who are somewhere besides cut & dry male or female, and have an issue defining as one or the other. This event has really upset more people than I think its organisers intend. After speaking with some of the members of Swindon Pride, I am convinced that the group’s hearts are in the right place, and they honestly mean well, yet parts of the straight as well as GLBT and other gender and sexual minorities feel left out, dismissed, and even shunned by the very type of organisation that should support them.

When anyone practices exclusion and discrimination, I ask Swindon Pride, where is the pride in that?

Now let’s support this, and all events hosted by Swindon Pride!

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By Daniel Lee ~ Proactive Diversity

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