We’ve had a good run of sun so far this summer and there was no rain on the Pride Parade. Old queens that we are, we watched the Technicolor pageant from the balcony of the Theatre Royal with a triumphant glass of chilled white. A striking feature of this year’s procession was Umbrellas of Love created by local artist Vince Laws, highlighting the desperate plight of many LGBT people throughout the Commonwealth, particularly poignant as the Commonwealth Games are currently being held in Glasgow. According to the Commonwealth Charter, member states agree to respect and protect human rights. Total crap of course. It’s illegal to be gay in 42 of the Commonwealth 53 nations where punishment ranges from the terrifying to the barbaric – 10 years imprisonment to execution. And don’t get me started on female genital mutilation. So there it is, the Commonwealth Charter is just so much cheap toilet paper.
My underpowered Samsung so-called smart phone wasn’t smart enough to do justice to the fun and frolics of the parade. For a good selection, take a gander at the Norwich Pride Facebook page.
After the procession we re-grouped in the Coach and Horses pub to quench our thirsts. Today, of course, we have terminal wine flu.
The Commonwealth (a misnomer is ever there was one) is holding its Games in Glasgow this summer. The sporting jamboree will bring together athletes from across the old British Empire and (in the case of former Portuguese Mozambique) beyond it. There’s precious little wealth in common among the motley crew of nations made up by their former imperial masters and one thing that definitely doesn’t bind them is a shared understanding of human rights.
At this year’s Norwich Pride, Vince Laws, Norwich artist and LGBT activist, will be highlighting the truly appalling record of many (actually most) Commonwealth countries in relation to LGBT rights. Vince’s illustration says it all.
This is Vince’s big idea:
I want to protest the homophobia in the Commonwealth during the Gaymes. I want to get 41 white umbrellas, and paint the names of the offending countries on them, in blood red, and hopefully get 41 people to carry them in Norwich Pride parade. It’s going to cost about £5 per umbrella. I’m overdrawn and on benefits! To help, you could donate a plain white umbrella, send a fiver, a tenner, what you can afford. If I get enough money I’ll do all 86 countries where it’s illegal to be me. I’m hoping once the umbrellas are done they can go to different events around the country, or go on display… Any ideas, offers of help, welcome.
So Vince is a doing a Rihanna by inviting you to stand with him under his umbrella (ella ella, eh eh eh). Offers of help and spare brollies to Vince on Facebook or chip in a few quid at Fundrazr. Ta muchly.