This year the Civil Service LGBT+ Network took part in a great array of pride events from May to September. Over 650 people were able to take part across 14 different events, thank you all for attending and making Pride 2023 season a brilliant one to remember.
We reached out for feedback from everyone that applied to parade with us, even those that were unsuccessful in our ballots, we had over 100 responses, both good and constructive. We did this to try and make Pride 2024 better and more successful than this year.
I want to take this opportunity to highlight some of the main bits of feedback and comment on how things might look for Pride 2024.
Entry to Parades
Some of the parades that Civil Service LGBT+ Network enter into are free, others cost money. We had a small amount of funding last year approved, and how this is spent is tightly monitored. We would love to have a seemingly endless pot of money for parade entries everywhere, floats galore and more, but we don’t.
Free pride parades and events were attended all over the UK again this year. These generally are not restricted by numbers and is a great opportunity for us to be visible in smaller places too. In 2024 we are hoping to visit more free parades and grass route pride events.
If you know that there is a pride parade or event in your area that is free and would like to see or help have a Network presence there, please do get in touch with your local organisers.
Parade Entry Sizes
There were a number of concerns that some our parade entries looked small in comparison to previous years and corporate entries. London, for instance, certainly was a lot smaller than before. In 2022 we had 250 spaces for the parade, and a float. With funding restrictions this year, we only had funding for 50 walking spaces.
Manchester was our largest outing this year, with 150 spaces, this was accompanied by APHA LGBT+ Network who had another 50 spaces. We filled c.180 spaces in total and what a sight it was.
Balloting parades is not something that we do lightly, we do this where we know that there are strict restrictions on the size of the groups that we have entered, whether that be due to funding or parade policy.
How we do this though is something that always receives some commentary, each year there are people that are unsuccessful in the ballot, but we do try to make sure a reserve list is run. Manchester, for example, had a reserve list to start with, but all places had been offered out before the parade. We know that not everyone agrees with this process, we have taken on board all feedback around this and will look to tweak, if appropriate, moving forward for Pride 2024.
I know that we are still in 2023, however, thoughts have already turned to Pride 2024 season. We hope that people will come out in support of our offering next year as well and make it a year to remember.
For now, though, thanks for a great 2023 season and I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas.