In the heart of the London Pride

, by Jean-Benoit RICHARD

Jason Pollock, a former television reporter, is the Chief Executive of Pride London. He tells all about the organisation of these very special days dedicated to activism and parties.

What are the key dates of the terrific program you have elaborated ?

Jason Pollock : Everything will begin on saturday 18th June and will finish with a great charity for the benefit of Pride London which will take place on sunday 2nd July, organised by Sir Ian McKellen, the actor staring in Da Vinci Code and The Lord of the Rings.

Of course, the D day will be saturday 1st July. The Pride Parade will be giant : for the first time, Oxford Street and Regent Street will be closed to allow the circulation of the floats and the paraders. It will start near Park Lane and will end at Victoria Embankment, near the river Thames.

Later in the afternoon, Soho will be closed for a big party, and, the day before, a conference on how to fight against inequality and injustice will be held.

I believe this conference is very important for you ?

JP : Yes, the conference is very important and the mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, who helped us with the preparation of this EuroPride, will make a speech. We all want to act against homophobia, and firstly in eastern Europe, in Russia, Estonia or Poland. These countries are very late with elementary civic rights. We must do our best to help them progress. Of course, we are still facing discriminations in U.K., but in these countries, everything has to be done. For example, in these countries, the police beats gays or allows gays to be bashed, and in our country, the police supports the Pride, even by giving money.

You mean the whole police, and not only gay police associations ?

JP : Yes, the entire police, without distinction. We are very proud of this support, as we are proud to be sponsored this year by the Gay Navy and the Gay Air Force. They will demonstrate dressed in full uniform. Isn’t that marvelous ?

Yes it is. Their presence is more accurate here then in Irak ! But let’s come back to your work, what is your role at the head of this organisation ?

JP : I am the only paid employee, all the others are volunteers. I have 50 comitees working in all the domains. I have to coordinate their activities, and believe me, it’s a damn job ! First of all, I have to select the appropriate volunteers, and then, I have to have them all work together, which is not easy. Luckily, all of them are wonderful !

Do you think that London will be able to face this ?

JP : For sure ! The city has an amazing hosting infrastructure. Aside of train and plane tickets at low rates, we have worked to obtain accomodations at every prices. London has done its best to welcome the paraders in the best conditions, so, be our guests.

Interview realised in London by Philippe Escalier -