Nicholas Bugeja from Allied Rainbow Communities (ARC) shares the history of Malta Pride, challenges, hopes and aspirations and the exciting bid to host EuroPride 2023.
HISTORY OF MALTA PRIDE
The first recorded LGBTIQ+ Pride Demonstration in Malta was held in 2004 and organised by the Malta LGBTIQ+ Rights Movement (MGRM). Back then, not more than 50 demonstrators marched along the Capital City of Valletta, most of whom were straight allies and some politicians who supported equality. The theme used was “Gay Rights? Human Rights!” Since then Pride kept its annual appointment hoping to drive the message of the LGBTIQ+ Community across the whole island, yet participation numbers during the demonstration barely exceeded 500 people up until 2015. In 2016, ARC formed a collaboration with MGRM to jointly organise Malta Pride which saw a record participation of 1,000 people, mostly from the LGBTIQ+ community.
some of the best moments
From 2016 until present, ARC took a lead coordinating role in organising Malta Pride Week and the March. Participation Numbers and partnership involvement kept breaking records year after year. In 2019, 8,000 people, approximately 2% of the population of Malta, participated at the Pride March & Concert, with over 22 other events also held during Pride Week with a budget of just €40,000. Malta Pride has become a much sought-after annual event in the Maltese national calendar, supported by central & local Government, private entities and a number of civil society organisations. Malta Pride keeps the LGBTIQ+ community at its core and ensures it doesn’t become a vehicle for pink washing by corporate or political propaganda.
We celebrated the country’s 5th consecutive year ranking at the top of ILGAs equality index and also a dedicated Ministry that works hard in maintaining it.
HOTTEST ACTS HOSTED THROUGHOUT THE YEARS
ARC was able to bring over a number of international drag artists over the past couple of years. In 2016, we had Divina De Campo which was a runner up at last year’s Rupaul Drag race UK, we also invited Karma B, a duo celebrity in Italy who also organized a Masterclass by Karma B in the Art of doing Drag professionally who shared their experience, tips and tricks of Drag as a profession. Last year we had La Voix, who is huge in the UK and was lead act at the Orpheum Cabaret as part of Pride.
ARC’S current campaigns
As an organization that works for the well-being of the LGBTIQ community, we want to see Malta become a safe and attractive location for LGBTIQ individuals from all over the world to live and work here. We are currently campaigning to bring EuroPride in Malta in 2023 which will be a really big step forward.
This year Pride will be less performative but more symbolic. We invite public buildings and businesses to hoist pride flags and display pride colours, donate to LGBTIQ organisations to keep doing their work, collaborate with them to create more sensibility, use your socials to share your message of pride. Each of these acts will make a person who thinks they are unloved feel less isolated and seen.
COMMUNITIES hopes for 2021
We hope that Equality bill to prohibit discrimination in various spheres of life, to promote equality and prevent discrimination, will eventually be enacted without any further hiccups. We also aim to establish a yearly survey that checks upon LGBTIQ+ discrimination and harassment in the workplace as well as work for a bigger COVID friendly pride and more events that can reconnect the community.
bid for malta to host europride 2023
The Maltese LGBTI+ community is a proud part of a European LGBTIQ+ movement, but also finds itself at the heart of the Middle East and North African regions where equality is still a far cry. With Malta ranking top of the ILGA Europe Rainbow Index for five years in a row, it is our duty to work constantly in achieving full equality from the heart in Malta as well as in neighbouring communities where LGBTI+ phobia and lack of human rights are still rife.
Our target for EuroPride Valletta 2023 is to offer the European, Middle East and North African LGBTIQ+ community a safe port of call whilst providing them a stage where LGBTI+ human rights issues can be addressed and discussed. We want to contribute to more diversity and equality in Europe and surrounding regions and help to find ways to have a high level of human rights for all LGBTIQ+ people.
Content provided by Nicholas Bugeja. Media provided by: Focus by Mr. V for ARC