I’m briefly interrupting my holiday in Reykjavik (fret not, you’ll hear all about that once I’m back) as I’ve received a very unsettling email from my friend Ben Whitehouse. Ben recently set up a blog, Created in Telford:
As a result of this, Telford’s first-ever gay pride event is due to be held this weekend. Sadly, not everybody is so happy about this. Two extremist groups, Storm Front (white fascists) and Islamic Awakening (no explanation needed), who would normally be at loggerheads (and if only they would firebomb each other into oblivion and leave the rest of us to get on with trying to get on) have both posted on their site forums suggesting that action is required over this event. It’s got Ben extremely worried, and frankly I’m concerned too. This and what happened in Israel on Sunday are yet further proof that there’s still a long way to go.
Seeing how open-minded and blasé everyone is in Reykjavik (not just gay venues advertising Pride, but all sorts of random places, anywhere they can display a rainbow flag) is so refreshing. Of course, rural Iceland is probably a lot less liberal, same as rural or small-town Britain, but as a gay man I don’t feel as though I’d be at risk of a homophobic assault here, not even verbally let alone physically.
I’ll be attending the opening ceremony of Reykjavik Gay Pride tomorrow night and I’ll be doing so with pride, as I get the feeling that, here, Pride is a genuine celebration of not just sexual acceptance but all-round inclusiveness (as opposed to the cynical, commercialised and largely de-politicised junkets in Manchester, Leeds etc). In the meantime, I hope Telford’s own inaugural celebration isn’t marred by extremist stupidity, the most dangerous stupidity of all.