York Pride Response to Press Letter & Christian Concern

13244871_1081664495225210_2598875655716334827_nYork Pride wishes to respond to a number of criticisms its event and its burgeoning relationship with York Minster has faced over the last week.

This week, Andrea Minichiello Williams, a member of the Church of England’s General Synod and head of Christian Concern (a group which campaigns against issues that they believe damages society, including LGBT individuals), denounced York Minster for blessing the York Pride parade. Williams argued that “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. Likewise, published in the York Press’ Letter Page, Alexander Ogilvy from Acomb stated: “So-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.”

Greg Stephenson, Chair of York Pride, responds to these comments with this statement:

“It is very unfortunate to encounter these comments in the month running up to York Pride, but we believe that it simply reinforces the need for the day in the first place. We are very grateful to York Minster for the support they have shown us, and continue to show us, and 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. And 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. 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.’

On June 18th, 2016, York Pride will start at the York Minster for its annual parade to the Knavesmire, whereupon a free festival will be held full of diverse 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.

A short time ago York Pride received the following statement from The Press:

The letter has been removed from our website and the following apology will appear in tomorrow’s edition of The Press:

“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. This letter should not have been published and we are disappointed that it slipped through our normally very stringent editing processes. We would like to remind readers that the views expressed in published letters are entirely those of the author and in no way reflect the opinions of this newspaper. The letter has been removed from our website.”