When It Happens Panel Get involved: send your photos, videos, news & views by texting 'OXFORD NEWS' to 80360 or email
Pride cannot return to Paradise
THERE will be no return to paradise for Oxford’s biggest LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) event.
Oxford Pride had hoped to take its party back to Paradise Street this year, where the original Pride was held, to celebrate the event’s 10th anniversary.
But city council regulations mean this year’s Wizard of Oz-themed event will have to stay in Oxpens Fields, near the ice rink.
Rafe Jeune, the chair of Oxford Pride, said: “It is a shame but I understand that the city council has its own obligations to fulfill.
“But I am looking forward to this year’s Oxford Pride. It will be a great celebration.”
Mr Jeune said council officers were concerned that closing Paradise Street might mean more traffic through the bus gate in Castle Street.
The first Oxford Pride event in 2002 saw a party in Paradise Street and the surrounding area to celebrate the Queen’s Golden Jubilee but it has since expanded, attracting up to 5,000 people each summer.
Mr Jeune said: “Everyone is welcome to come. Our message is about being inclusive. Everything that has been achieved in gay rights is because the straight majority has supported us.
“We wouldn’t be in the position we are today if we didn’t have their help.”
Oxford Pride will take place from Friday, June 8, to Sunday, June 17, with the main parade on Saturday, June 16.
The festival will include art exhibitions, a dog show, karaoke and a history walk.
The event will be opened by the Lord Mayor of Oxford Elise Benjamin. Gay rights campaigner Peter Tatchell, a patron of Oxford Pride, will speak at the event.