Pride Glasgow 2018
Saturday the 14th July Glasgow, there was a bright and colourful March in the west end today and it wasn’t an orange walk. Led by the First Minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon, who accepted the grand Marshall position of the pride parade instead of meeting with a big orange balloon.
Over 12,000 people marched in Glasgow to celebrate the LGBTI+ rainbow culture and remember our black sisters and brothers in the Stonewall riots. Cos never forget, it was trans women of colour who started the first Pride. ✊🏾
Unfortunately, today, I wasn’t one of those people marching. I had fully intended to. I painted my nails, had rainbow toes and my niece was set with her kids, we were all gonna go to pride and have fun.
We started preparations last week, my friends were buying tickets and asked if I was coming, but due to my wheelchair I like to get accessible tickets. It means I don’t have to worry about access to loo’s and unexpected stairs as events tend to have fair access. However I couldn’t buy my ticket with my friends, my niece was in touch with the organisers about the kids and curfews so she enquired for me too. We were advised to go to the box office on the day.
When Saturday came we were prepared, I went round to my nieces house but it was already getting pretty warm. (Due to my MS I have issues regulating heat.) It wasn’t even 11am
yet. My niece has two kids, one who is autistic. The thought of going to a march and then having to wait for tickets was really off-putting. We delayed going. My friends were going too so I thought I would hear from them when they got in and let me know how it was etc, if it was too busy or over crowded. We didn’t hear anything.
The time passed and the kids wanted to go to the park, so we abandoned our pride parade plans. As it turns out, perhaps for the better. The afternoon news headlines read “Chaos at Glasgow Pride”.
People who had already bought tickets and had wrist bands were being denied entry to Kelvingrove park, where all the good stuff was happening. There was reports of queues hours long, people fainting and being taken away in an ambulance. How could people who had already paid be denied access? To pride? Supposedly one of the most inclusive events in the world.
Well, to be honest, I’m not that surprised.
While there is no doubt that Pride is an amazing event, lets consider some finer details.
Numero uno, for the biggest, most popular events (that all your pals will be at) it costs quite a bit of cash.
And you will note there is no accessible option there. But there was an accessible platform, my friend sent me pictures so at least I still felt involved. To get an accessible ticket you had to have already been in touch, I presume weeks or maybe months in advance and provide them with proof of your disability. (This is pretty standard for any concert and event to be fair but there’s usually a membership system so you don’t have to do it all in advance all of the time.) Or as we were advised you could ty to purchase an accessible ticket at the box office.
There seemed to be a bit of a mix up at the box office.
All over my facebook and twitter timelines there was angry posts about waiting in queues to convert tickets into wristband, stewards telling people with tickets they couldn’t get wristbands and even stories of people with wristbands jumping the fence so they could get into the event they had paid for.
The event organisers posted on social media “the event has reached capacity and we are unable to let anyone else in.”
Later they posted this:
Which is a bit of a cheek considering they seem more concerned with breeches of the perimeter than you know, providing the services customers paid for.
But to me there is your crux of the problem. “Paid for” pride shouldn’t be a thing. For a long time one group of pubs had the monopoly on Glasgow’s Pride, a group that included an establishment I used to frequent regularly with my friends. A place where people in wheelchairs have been ejected from just for being disabled. A place where i have experienced first hand discrimination for being disabled.
When pride is supposed to be all inclusive, all accepting, why can’t a lesbian in a wheelchair manage to get a ticket to Pride at the same time as her pals? Why were people with pre-purchased tickets being denied entry to our community?
Questions I think Pride Glasgow 2018 should be answering, before starting their business endeavours for next years celebrations.
You can read more from Debra on her Ungagged Writing page and hear from her on our Podcast