Polyester SUCCESS and Indigogo launch!

We’d like to say a huge thank you to everyone who came down to our Polyester Fundraiser on Friday- it was an amazing night and it was so great to see LGBTQIA+ community being built and celebrated. Thank you to Polyester for having us and thank you to everyone who donated!!! Thanks to your generosity we are thrilled to say we raised over £400!!! We are still waiting to hear the exact sales figures from the Queer Beer so we will publish the exact amount we raised as soon as we find out.

If you didn’t make it down to our fundraiser, but still want to help out, you can donate online at our Indiegogo page. We still have some way to go to raise enough to ensure our event is as accessible and as inclusive as possible, so any help is much appreciated!

Remember, if you can’t donate money you can still help in other ways, such as coming along to our meetings, attending our events, offering a skill you might have, or simply showing your support by liking and sharing our facebook page.

Thanks again to everyone who has helped get us one big step closer to our goal!!!!


Our reply to Pride Glasgow’s response

Below is our public reply to Pride Glasgow’s message to us:

Dear Pride Glasgow,

Thank you for taking the time to respond to our letter and for your kind offers of assistance and support, which are warmly welcomed. Please be assured that neither our decision to organise independently nor our decision to contact you in this way was intended to provoke confrontation or division but to begin a dialogue, which we hope will continue.

While we raised many detailed points in our initial letter and would thank you for the detailed responses, many areas of difference, which we feel create the need for our event to exist, remain. That difference need not be something we view as a negative but as a challenge we welcome in our collective efforts to build understanding of and between our diverse communities.

We share your view that the decision to charge in 2014 was regrettable and accepted in good faith assurances this was due to a unique set of circumstances. If, as you have noted, those circumstances persist, our collective challenge remains to return the event to a free model and we welcome your desire to do so.
We not only share your concerns about the lack of funding and support for Pride from public bodies, specifically Glasgow City Council, but intend to highlight this as part of our broader commitment to maintaining Pride as a protest. Free Pride aims to stand with PRIDE Glasgow, in holding those who make claims to support our communities which are not evidenced by their actions to account.

As we do not forsee our organisation creating mandated positions, we will have to respectfully decline your invitation to sit on the PRIDE Glasgow steering group for the time being. However, we welcome any opportunity to meet and discuss our hopes for Pride this year and beyond. We will be publishing details of our future meetings via our social media channels and hope dialogue between our groups will continue to be open and constructive. We would also welcome any support in helping to make our own event, and our contribution to PRIDE Glasgow, the best it can be.

We look forward to attending the PRIDE Glasgow parade and hope the Free Pride bloc will be a welcome addition to this year’s event.

Kind Regards,
Free Pride

Pride Glasgow’s Response

Pride Glasgow privately responded to our open letter and have asked us to share their response with you all:

Dear Free Pride

Thank you for your open letter,

In response to the points you raised thank you for doing so. I am unaware why our organisation was not contacted directly as we are always available to explain how the organisation runs and explain any financial expenditures. However, we have no issue with discussing this on a public forum to ensure transparency to all. I would also like you to know that anyone can join our steering group to have more of an input into the whole process of Pride Glasgow.

It was with regret that Pride Glasgow introduced charging for the event in 2014. This was to ensure the financial stability of the organisation and to ensure the event can continue for future years. With the introduction of the charge we created the Pride Fund which guaranteed that £1 from each ticket sold is reinvested directly into the community. This was done to create a legacy for the community by encouraging to groups to set up and run activities.
We offer the chance for people to be involved with the event at no cost, our Youth Zone remains free to ensure that young LGBTQIA people are able to access support and information via the Youth Zone. Our Volunteer programme allows anyone to get involved and be part of the event and in return for supporting us for 4 hours or more on the run up to the festival or during the festival itself will receive entry to the event at no cost as well as being able to take part in the Pride Life Volunteer Programming. The Pride Life Volunteer Programme is designed to support and empower participants in gaining new skills that can be transferred to social, employment and educational settings. Part of this programmes aims to reduce social isolation. The majority of these events take place away from the scene and the drinking centric culture that you mentioned. We are proud to see people benefit from this experience and value their commitment and time to the event it would not be possible without them.

Pride Glasgow’s Parade is also still one of the most political Pride Parades in the UK. The march is free and all policing costs are met by us. Unlike other Prides we do not restrict the parade to organisations and companies wishing to take part and it is open to everyone. We ask that larger walking groups and floats register with us in advance to ensure that we can plan the parade correctly and ensure the correct steward ratio as required by Glasgow City Council’s rules on parades and processions. We hope to see a FREE Pride bloc join us this year. We use the parade as the most visible aspect of the event to raise awareness of the issues faced by the LGBTQIA community.

I would like you to appreciate how far Pride Glasgow has come. From being overcharged by Glasgow City Council over the years and having to protest against this and send open letters to get public support. To the event being dumped in a gravel laden carpark last year we have daily ongoing battles trying to maintain that we get to hold this event every year and are met with many barriers in trying to do this. We hope you understand that Pride Glasgow has met many obstacles and opposition from the city and are glad that we have managed to continue to put this event on. We have tried to make the event as inclusive as possible and accessible as possible. Last year we introduced as safe area where our trans family could go and meet up. This was met with some criticism and issues which we have tried to improve on for this year.
We explained the reasons behind charging in 2014 in a post which can still be found on our website or social media pages and these reasons still exist and in fact have become greater. The introduction of Glasgow City Council’s new charges for the use of parks and precincts have increased the expenditure of the event alongside the introduction of charges from Police Scotland for all events.

The costs involved in running the main event has gradually increased each year and. We are required to pay the Council for the venue, the police for providing policing services to the event. The introduction of the requirement for a Public Entertainment Licence also put pressure on us as we need to ensure that we meet each licence requirement. The event has to be insured, council rules mean we need to enclose the event with fencing and we need to meet licencing requirements for toilets and security all of which are costly. As an organisation we do not receiving funding for the event from local or national government (unlike many other events) and rely on commercial sponsorship and involvement to fund the majority of the festival, in recent years that support has been lower with many organisations and companies facing a tighter squeeze on their finances and not able to support the event as much as they might have had in previous years. Many of the acts that perform do so for a small fee and others that incur larger fees are met by local business who benefit hugely from the community. We support this arrangement as we believe that local businesses should contribute financially to the event if they wish to do so. We do not benefit from the drinking centric profits that you assume we make. We tender the bar out to an independent company every year and do this in order to raise money to stage the event.

Our Accounts are published each year and as explained on the Website we entered an extended accounting year to bring the accounting reference date into line with the festival dates. The accounts for 01 May 2013 – 30 September 2014 and these are due to be lodged with OSCR and made available on our website at the end of June 2015 in line with the statutory timescales given to us to have them prepared, examined and approved.

Our Theme for this year is happiness we want to be able to celebrate having the first pride since equal marriage became law and celebrate 20 years of Pride events in Scotland. We are upset that you have an issue with the happiness theme and do feel that although we still face huge discrimination and isolation as a community we should be able to celebrate positive changes where we can. This does not mean that we think the LGBQTIA community is free from every day stigma and barriers.

We have tried over recent years to highlight what it costs to put the event on and the lack of support from public bodies including the council for the event. We would like the event to have been able to remain free and hopefully we will be able to go back to the free model one day. In the meantime we need to be able to ensure the sustainability of the organisation and the event and have been left with no other choice but to introduce ticket charges for the main event to ensure that the festival can continue to happen.

We think it is fantastic that you want an alternative to what we offer and would support you in your efforts to do this. We are here to support you with any knowledge or information that you need as we understand how hard it is to start from the beginning. We are sorry that no one from our team is there tonight and hope to make it along to meet everyone at some point. We are in full support of there being many different aspects to Pride as it is something that holds different meaning for everyone and way of celebrating or protesting varies from person to person. We are glad to see different alternatives being created as it demonstrates how diverse our community is from within.

We hope to be able to maintain a good working relationship with your movement as we have no desire to be in opposition with any one in our community.

Kind Regards
Pride Glasgow

Polyester Free Pride Fundraiser: Friday 26 June 11pm The Flying Duck

Our first fundraising event is LIVE! LGBTQIA+ night Polyester are hosting a night of LGBTQIA+ performance, DJing and FUN- all proceeds raised will go towards the Free Pride fund so come along, dance and donate!

*Please note The Flying Duck is unfortunately not an accessible venue, however the funds raised will go towards hiring an accessible venue for the main Free Pride event*

Facebook Event

Thursday 28th May Public Meeting

Free Pride has launched – a movement created by and for Glasgow’s LGBTQIA+ community to create a free and radical alternative to Glasgow’s mainstream Pride event. We believe that Pride should be free, a protest, and accessible to all, and we have started this movement in response to the over-commercialised and de-radicalised event that mainsteam Pride has become.

Last year Glasgow Pride charged money to participate, and this year it is charging even more, but not all LGBTQIA+ can afford this. The event lacks inclusiveness for everyone in our LGBTQIA+ community with people feeling uncomfortable and unsafe at the event – for example transgender, intersex, and asexual people, and disabled people/people with disabilities, and people of colour. The event has lost its political edge and fails to meet the needs of those in the community who need us to stand together and demand change.

So this year we will be holding our own event. One that is not commercialised. One that is inclusive. One that is a protest. We will be freeing pride and we want you to join us! Please read our manifesto and open letter to Pride Glasgow to find out more about this movement – both can be found here on our facebook page.

We are in the beginning stages of organising our event and if you want to be a part of creating free pride then we want you to be involved too! Our first meeting will be taking place on Thursday 28th May at 7pm so if you can please come along and join us! More details of the event can be found on the event page athttps://www.facebook.com/events/1659679347599534/1659679710932831/

Also if you can, please sign up to our mailing list to recieve regular updates on the movement and the event by emailing your first name, last name, and email address to freeprideglasgow@outlook.com or by clicking on the sign up box here on our facebook page! We also have a twitter to follow at @freepridegla and welcome all support for‪#‎freepride2015‬

If you wish to contact us you can do so at freeprideglasgow@outlook.com
Stay tuned for more exciting infomation in the coming weeks!

Our Open Letter to Pride Glasgow

An open letter to Pride Glasgow.

The first Pride was a protest- a protest against the violence, erasure and abuse of LGBTQIA+ people that has been carried out against us for decades. Pride was a riot, a way to fight back against our oppressors and show that we would not be silenced. Over time, as many societies across the world have become more accepting of LGBTQIA+ people Pride has departed from its roots and become commercialised and deradicalised. It is no longer a way to celebrate our history and remember those who fought for us to be recognised and treated fairly. It is no longer a way for us to come together and demand more for those of us who still face injustice. It is no longer about protecting the most marginalised in our community. Instead, it has become an excuse for corporations to push rainbow branded products on us as a marketing ploy, for marginalised groups to be excluded while cis white men are celebrated, and real issues that continue to affect the LGBTQIA+ community are ignored in favour of celebrating ‘gay marriage’.

Pride Glasgow has become the embodiment of so many things that are wrong with mainstream Pride festivals. It was last year that the decision was made to charge people for attending the events held in our city, except for the march, which remained open to all. At the time, many thought this to be a reasonable decision, especially as the events were clashing with the Commonwealth Games that received a lot more public and private support. But while last year the entry fee was £5, which was still unaffordable for many, this year it has been increased to a price that ranges from 8 (for a one day ticket) to 55 pounds (VIP experience for those who are extremely proud, of themselves, their community, and… their money?). This makes the event inaccessible and alienating to many groups, and we believe it is not in the spirit of Pride.

The fact that you are now charging again for Pride has made us realise we need an alternative- we’re tired of being patronised and marketed to by large companies, we’re tired of having our histories pink-washed, we’re tired of the exclusion of trans, non-binary, disabled, poor, non-white and other marginalised identities and we’re tired of the real issues facing our community being swept under the rug.

Your ‪#‎BeHappy‬ hashtag is another thing we take issue with. While the idea of #BeHappy may seem like a positive statement, in reality it trivialises the experiences of those of us who are still facing discrimination, violence, homelessness and poverty. Being given a chance to openly and proudly present ourselves does indeed make many of us happy; however, a huge part of the community is still treated with no respect and has it difficult even in the progressive country that the UK is viewed as. We cannot be happy when so many of us are being erased from the conversation about equality, and are continually discriminated against.

We also want you to be more transparent about your finances, particularly as you are a charity who supposedly exists to support our community. The last financial statement available on your website seems to be dating back to 2012–2013. You are charging people and companies who want to sell or advertise their products and services for stalls, and then you charge people for access to these stalls. We want to know why Pride is no longer free and where the money from our tickets goes.

While we are launching our own event to provide an alternative to your own commercialised, de-radicalised and drinking-centric party, we are happy to work alongside you to make Pride more accessible for the marginalised groups in our community in the future. Our ultimate goal is to provide a space for everyone in the LGBTQIA+ community to come and feel comfortable, to celebrate and to protest, regardless of how much money is in their pocket.

Free Pride

Free Pride Manifesto


Pride should be free. Pride should be a protest. Pride should be accessible to all. Instead it has become over-commercialised and de-radicalised, and charges money to people if they want to participate. Pride belongs to LGBTQIA+ people and we want it back.

We have grown tired of mainstream Pride’s lack of inclusiveness for transgender, intersex and asexual people and other marginalized groups that make part of our LGBTQIA+ communities, including disabled people/people with disabilities and people of colour.

Free Pride seeks to address three main issues:

* Anti-commercialisation – Pride is for people not for corporations to make themselves look LGBT+ friendly and make profit off us, however, our frustration is aimed at the commercial forces at work in Pride and not the LGBTQIA+ who participate in what has become.

* Inclusivity – We want to create a safer space that prioritises the voices of the most marginalised and is accessible to all.

* Pride is a protest – From the harassment and violence levelled at the Trans community to the treatment of LGBTQIA+ asylum seekers, we are continually reminded that society isn’t for us and that needs to change. Pride should be a platform to demand and make that change, not just an opportunity to be sold things and promoted to.

We don’t have money or commercial sponsors, but when we work together we are powerful. We are a group of LGBTQIA+ people with a vision to build something different and we encourage people and groups to join us in organising alternative grass-roots events. We want to “Free Pride”.