Students Fight for Pride event in ‘homophobic’ York

Students are lobbying York City Council and the University to reinstate a ‘Gay Pride’ festival in the city, which was abandoned in 1996.

York student, Nick da Costa, Bex Emery and Kat Louis (NUS LGB), hope to put on the event this July. The organisers believe the event would “open the homophobic eyes of the city” and help prevent “all too frequent” attacks on gay students in the city.

“The event would be good for the city, as there is not very much that's specifically gay-friendly here, especially since the closure of York’s only gay pub.”

The Beyond Boundaries Rainbow Rally 2004, the proposed name for the event, has been identified as a “massive undertaking” by Nick da Costa.

The festival will focus on “the promotion of arts, to have performances ranging from modern music, to choral music and even storytelling” as well as having stands from charity organisation focusing on “welfare issues such as Sexually Transmitted Diseases, and political issues, such as working rights.”

In order for the event to return after its eight-year absence, red tape from “legal and bureaucratic issues” including the major barriers of “public liability, insurance as well health and safety” have to be overcome. Organisers are hoping the council will help make the festival a valid possibility by initiating the complicated processes needed to address these issues. The organisers are also seeking an appropriate venue in the city to hold the event.

Despite the limited ‘gay scene’, York has had a history of gay festivals. In 2003, over 3000 lesbians attended the third annual women’s book festival – run by Libertas of Gillygate. The last gay pride festival, however, was back in 1996, with ‘Proud in the Park.’

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