A man condemned the ‘immorality’ of ‘so-called gays’. York Pride responded brilliantly

Flashback to last year's York Pride. Photograph: Duncan Lomax
20 May 2016 @ 8.00 pm
| News

One man dismissed the immorality of ‘so-called gays’. Another condemned York Pride’s ‘radical agenda’.

Views that belong to the Dark Ages have been aired in our city in the last few days.

But the organisers of York Pride have hit back and put both critics in their place.

The first is Andrea Minichiello Williams. He is a member of the Church of England’s General Synod and head of Christian Concern – a group which campaigns against issues that they believe damage society, including LGBT individuals.

He denounced York Minster for blessing the York Pride parade, saying “it is sobering that last year a Canon of [York Minster] blessed the city’s ‘Pride’ march. The Church of England must take decisive action to deal with this radical agenda”.

Days later the York Press published a short letter from Alexander Ogilvy, of Lindsey Avenue in York.

It read:

york-press-gays-letterSo-called “gays” are apparently planning another summer of bizarre “Pride” activities around our city.

Their childish parades and stunts seem to promote immoral, irresponsible and dangerous behaviour.

They are also an unnecessary nuisance.

‘Promoting an LGBT-friendly city’

A rainbow at the Minster…
Grateful for the support of York Minster…

Chair of York Pride Greg Stephenson called both sets of comments “very unfortunate”, but added “we believe that it simply reinforces the need for the day in the first place”

He expressed York Pride’s gratitude for the Minster’s support. “We believe that they have opened a door for a conversation to take place between two communities which have historically encountered tension between one another.”

Greg added:

With regards to Mr Ogilvy’s comments, we would just like to say that we do not promote “childish” nor “immoral, irresponsible” behaviour.

Pride is a celebration of LGBT life in a colourful and vibrant, but also safe and family-friendly manner.

It provides one day a year where people can be free to express themselves authentically, and given Christian Concern’s and Mr Oglivy’s comments, I think they completely show why Pride is still actually necessary.

A day after the letter appeared in the Press, the paper published an editor’s note saying it should not have been published: “The Press would like to apologise to any readers who were offended by the publication of a letter in yesterday’s edition regarding York Pride’s planned events.”

Pride of 2016

On June 18, York Pride will start at the Minster for its annual parade to the Knavesmire, followed by a free festival of entertainment, food, drinks and activities for all.

It is the culmination of weeks of celebrations showing support for LGBT equality intending to show that everyone, no matter whether lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender can and should be able to live a happy and healthy life free of discrimination.

As Greg put it:

We want to show that York is one of the most LGBT-friendly cities in the UK, and we will continue to do so as long as there is a need for it.