1st Oise Pride March organized in Compiègne on Saturday: “It’s a political choice”
Why did the Oise wait until 2022 to experience its first Pride March?
Claire Lequievre: I think it’s multifactorial. Firstly because there are few associative and militant structures for the associative cause in the Oise. However, organizing a march requires time, investment, and partners. I think that until then it lacked vital forces and invested and motivated people in the department. Our Clin d’œil association has only existed for four years, it took time for us to develop. And very concretely, it is the Collective for the march of pride that, by creating itself, launched this initiative. We integrated it into its creation.
How many associations are in the Oise?
Apart from us, there is simply SOS Homophobia, which is more about prevention/school interventions and which has no objective at all of animating the LGBT community. But they are of course stakeholders and partners for this pride march.
Why this walk-in Compiègne?
Compiègne is the first practical choice because it is with Beauvais, the largest city in the Oise and it was easier for us to organize this in Compiègne, which we are close to and where the association was born. Wink. Afterward, there is a political dimension: we know that Compiègne is not at all supportive or helpful with the LGBT cause. The choice of Compiègne also means showing publicly and showing politicians that the LGBT cause exists, is present and that on their territory also invisibilization does not prevent people from existing.
You have already “trained” to parade by organizing counter-demonstrations during Manif pour Tous parades in Compiègne…
Yes, and that somewhat surprised the local organizers who had never been used to seeing another vision and opponents confronting them. But we had been very well received, shopkeepers had applauded us, and we even had people who had spontaneously joined us in the parade when they saw us. It was great.
Why a pride march? It could be that with marriage for all, the community has acquired important rights. Still, isn’t it easy to be gay in this country?
I would say to qualify it a little that it’s still not easy to be LGBT today in France. Afterward, we will not have the same difficulties depending on whether we are homosexual or transgender, for example, transgender people have much more difficulty, but I invite you to consult the reports of SOS homophobia which show that each year homophobic acts and homophobic attacks in France are increasing. So yes the laws are changing, yes there is easier access to certain services or certain devices, but equality is not yet absolute. There is still work to be done if only in access to parenthood even if the PMA was a great victory. Sometimes the laws evolve, but the population does not necessarily evolve with it.
What kind of violence?
It can be insults, physical violence, discrimination in the workplace, or access to housing… It is also intra-family violence… There are still many people today from the LGBT community who are largely distressed. And we, at the association, given that we are almost the only ones referenced on the territory, fairly regularly receive requests for help and guidance for various and varied issues. It ranges from absolute family rejection to, in some communities or cultures, death threats. We are also here to help parents of transgender people.
What is the problem with trans identity?
Today there is more visibility, more testimonials, and more identification figures for trans people, there are young people who will reveal themselves earlier or younger and who will begin trans journeys: many parents arrive in a world they don’t know at all, they need support because they don’t know how to help their child because there are very few resources. If only to find sensitive medical professionals trained in the issue, in the Oise, it is very complicated. Most of the time, we redirect them to Paris, but to go to Paris you also need financial means, which is not always possible. There is a real need for accompaniment and support for families. Same thing for young people in schools where it is difficult to live and assume as a young trans.
What will be THE message of this Compiègne pride march?
THE message, I think there are messages and we invite you to come and see us because we worked a lot on the slogans to adapt them to the territory and make them local (laughs). For me, the message is respect and dignity for the entire LGBT community, and finally in the Oise.
How many people are you expecting or would like to gather?
We’d like 300 people, that’s kind of the goal we’ve set ourselves internally, even if, as it’s the first edition, it’s hard to know, we don’t have a point of comparison. . If it’s more than 300, that’s fine, if it’s less, that’s okay: if it can help even a few people to feel more comfortable in the public space, the bet is already won.
1st Compiègne Pride March, starting at 2 p.m. Saturday, June 11
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