Parapride is a brand new LGBTQ+ charity for people with disabilities and it’s launching this Wednesday (29 May) at The Royal Vauxhall Tavern. Dave Cross spoke to founders Joseph Williams, Daniele Lul, Wayne Allingham aka Sugar Cube to find out more.
Hi guys, what’s the basic idea for ParaPride?
Wayne: ParaPride is a new LGBTQ+ charity for people with disabilities. Daniele: We exist to ensure the experience of all members of the disabled community is a fun, welcoming and equal one.
Joseph: We are achieving this by increasing the visibility and volume of inclusive and accessible spaces available for people who are LGBTQ+ and disabled.
D: We just want to normalise the opportunities presented to all parts of our diverse community.
Can you tell us who the three of you are and your roles?
W: Well, I’m the Entertainment Director of ParaPride. Because I have been running Disabled, Queer and Here for the past year and am one of the only disabled cabaret performers, I look after the events that ParaPride does and find performers with disabilities to perform at them.
D: I look after community engagement for ParaPride. It is so important that we are representative of and present in the communities we are supporting. So, along with our amazing board of directors which includes Paralympian Claire Harvey, I am responsible for forging relationships with other groups, charities and organisations to focus our impact.
J: I oversee the effectiveness of ParaPride, which ultimately means I am accountable to our Board and to the community for our success. I am also building the web platform (and eventually the app) that will support ParaPride’s efforts to improve visibility and social options to LGBTQ+ people with disabilities nationally and around the world.
What are the long term aims?
D: People with disabilities are particularly vulnerable to the effects of hate crime and are frequently the victims of harassment, abuse and violence. This is an incredibly isolating experience.
W: Everyone in our community needs to be able to be involved in it in order to help fight the effects of this, as well as fight the stigma that surrounds having a disability more generally.
J: With as many as 40% of LGBTQ+ having a disability, from sensory impairment to a chronic health condition, it is no longer acceptable for nearly half of us to not be able participate fully in the LGBTQ+ experience.
D: Our long term aim is to make accessibility an instinctive consideration for those managing public spaces, globally.
You are launching this week at The RVT, what can we expect on the night?
W: You can expect a line up where everyone performing has a disability.
D: You can expect to see first-hand how a non-fully accessible venue can turn itself into a much more inclusive space with a little bit of imagination and enthusiastic support from its management team.
J: One thing that is incredibly close to our hearts is to do for the disabled community what Mwice-Margaret Kavindele (Sadie Sinner) has done for performers of colour through The Cocoa Butter Club. Her inspiring work shows that “no diverse performers” is a myth, we just need to give diverse performers the safe space they need to spread their wings.
D: So you can expect to see a variety of artists with different forms of disability including Drag Syndrome and our very own Sugar Cube performing throughout the evening.
If someone wants to get involved, how can they?
J: As with any social movement, our strength and success is underpinned by the support and generosity of others. And I don’t just mean donations. We need people to volunteer and donate their time. Time to help us collate more information on venues, to find more performers with disabilities, to build relationships with different parts of the community, to engage with businesses, to design adverts, to help us code our technology. If anyone reading thinks for a second, but I couldn’t add any value, I guarantee you I can find a meaningful role for you where you will make a resounding impact.
W: We’re also always looking for more performers. The launch event is just the beginning, so if you want to work with us as an artist or to partner with us for another event, that would be great.
D: After the launch on Wednesday 29 May, we go into planning for the first ever ParaPride London. This will be a daylong celebration on Saturday 17 August at our London home, The Royal Vauxhall Tavern.
W: If you think the launch is going to be fun, just wait to see what we have planned for August
J: Tickets for ParaPride 2019 will be released in June. Full information will be able to be found on our Facebook page after the launch.