It’s 2016. It’s PRIDE week in many cities and towns around the world and in honor of PRIDE let’s talk about the impact that pride events have on our industry.
But first – some facts.
On Sunday, June 27th Turkish police fired rubber bullets into a peaceful pride event in Istanbul. This would have been the twelfth consecutive Pride march had authorities not “cancelled” this year’s parade due to violent threats from some particularly upset right-wing extremists. On June 12th, a man was stopped by the LAPD as he was making his way to Pride Events in Los Angeles with a car full of weapons and explosives. Also, on June 12th almost 50 people were killed, because they were gay, in what had previously been one of the “safe places” for the LGBT community in Orlando. Irony of ironies, it appears they were killed by a gay man. And on June 19th violence, threats and a burning swastika were front and center at Denver’s Pride Parade.
It’s 2016. According to 76crimes.com, a website and online community dedicated to shining a bright light on violence and harassment against members of the LGBT community around the world there are still 76 countries where being a gay person is illegal.
With every attack on the LGBT community, Pride Events only get Stronger
It’s 2016. In the face of the danger that so many LGBT people deal with in their everyday lives more and more are coming out and standing up for who they are as evidenced by the proliferation of Pride Events around the world. This week hundreds and hundreds of thousands of people will attend Pride Week in Toronto, Canada, the culmination of that city’s first ever Pride Month. The economic impact will be in the hundreds of millions.
According to nightours.com, a website that highlights what’s happening in the global LGBT community there are well over 200 organized Pride Events taking place in 2016-2017 with many more, smaller events happening at the grass roots level.
The Meetings and Events industry continues to benefit from the activism and political will of the LGBT community. Obviously, as is the case in any industry, LGBT people have been active in the Events and Meetings industry since day one. Only now, the community is working hard to build a specifically LGBT presence to meet the needs of the members of that community.
The Gay and Lesbian Convention & Visitors Bureau shines a spotlight on the most progressive and inclusive destinations for LGBT tourists and events. Next March the IGLTA annual global convention, a global networking and education event for LGBT Travel and Tourism professionals is taking place in St. Petersburg Florida. And the 2017 World Out Games are being hosted by Miami.
It’s 2016. And it’s Pride Week in hundreds of cities and towns around the world. And those cities and towns that are hosting events and parades and symposiums and conferences in and around and about Pride are reaping the economic and social benefits.
Recent events have turned the heat up. People from all walks of life suddenly have a lot to say about the LGBT “issue” and people from both sides – “for and against” have the right to their opinions.
Regardless of your thoughts on this “issue” one thing can no longer be denied. This is a HUGE community of people – that has become a huge economic driver – for the meetings and events industry.