A new organisation is hoping to impress locals with their bid to become the organisers of Pride in Glasgow.
The LGBT Co-op have released details of a public meeting for their ‘Mardi Gla’ event, thought to be the first co-operative set-up for a Pride event in the UK.
A public drop-in will be held on Wed 30th January between 3pm and 8pm at The Scottish Youth Theatre in Merchant City, where community members can hear more about the organisation and their ideas for Mardi Gla.
In publicity material which has been distributed around Glasgow’s bars and clubs, the organisation say they are “seeking real change from what has gone before”, presumably in reference to the difficulties experienced by the incumbent, Pride Glasgow, over the past year.
It’s understood the organisation has carried out a number of discussions with LGBT venues and groups in the city, as well as with officials at Glasgow City Council. A spokesperson for The LGBT Co-op told us:
“Our launch event is the culmination of 4 months of consultations with members of the community, third sector groups and local businesses. There was a very clear view that many people wanted to see a Pride event that reflected the roots of our movement and acted to enhance the understanding of issues that we face in our communities. We are not running a big party, but rather an event which will allow people to learn about our past and have a voice for issues that still damage our day to day lives – while of course still having the colour and vibrancy that show how fabulous we are as a community.”
A co-operative is the name given to an entity which is owned and operated by it’s members, with community businesses, large banks and even political parties organised in this way across the world.
Asked why this model was particularly beneficial to Glasgow, the spokesperson added:
“During our consultations we examined all available options, with a co-operative being the most attractive due to the strong ethos of being owned by the members and people working together. Our Chair is a New York lawyer, who now works in financial regulation and governance compliance in Glasgow, and he was also able to show how successful community Co-op’s are run in the United States – this gave us the confidence to move forward in what will be a first for Scotland and the UK.”
Although organisers remain tight-lipped about their plans ahead of the public launch on 30th January, they did confirm the event will be free to participate.
“We can confirm that, following our consultations with members of our communities and also taking into account the views of the City Government, we have decided that Mardi Gla will be a free event. This will present considerable challenges but we are sure if many of the people that care about services and [care about] Pride in Glasgow come together and co-operate, it can be achieved.”
“The LGBT Co-operative will be a year-round organisation, examining where a bit of help will support other groups or individuals that wish to make a difference. Mardi Gla – Glasgow’s Pride will of course be our key annual event but we will be there day in day out working with our communities. Our whole ethos is about community participation both in delivering services and also our governance which will see one third of the board elected every year making us one of the most democratic LGBT organisations in the nation.”
The launch of Mardi Gla comes after months of turmoil in the Pride movement within the city, which saw Pride Glasgow’s CEO and Deputy CEO both leave the charity and ongoing financial uncertainty around the future of the group. Trustees are being invited to form a new Board and community ‘Pride Forum’ was also elected in recent weeks.
Despite a series of public meetings over the last few months to resolve issues around Pride in Scotland’s largest city, it could be Glasgow’s licensing committee who decide the look and shape of Pride in 2019, as each organisation will need approval before their events can go ahead – watch this space!