Steve Taylor

Interview: Copenhagen 2021

Posted by | EuroPride, InterPride | No Comments
The Copenhagen Pride team at the InterPride Annual Conference in Indianapolis last month.

The Copenhagen Pride team at the InterPride Annual Conference in Indianapolis last month.

It’s just over a month since we heard the amazing news from the InterPride Annual Conference that Copenhagen Pride will host WorldPride in 2021. We caught up with some of the team to ask about that momentous day, and their plans to bring WorldPride back to Europe in four years’ time.


What’s your role with Copenhagen 2021?

Lars Henriksen (LH): I am the head of Copenhagen Pride and responsible for all that has to do with WorldPride. But because we are creating WorldPride as a joint event with EuroGames and hence are collaborating with PanIdræt to realise the entirety of the event, we have set up a project organisation ‘Happy Copenhagen’, which will serve as secretariat and executive creator of the event. Through this organisation, the event will be planned, created and aligned to be one event with two clearly identifiable identities of WorldPride and EuroGames. In this office we expect approximately 17 Danish and international staff. I am one of these staff, and serve as the political liaison  – this means that I am responsible for contact with politicians and decision makers in Denmark and internationally, who support our event, that I am the outreach to activists, but also that internally I oversee the inclusivity and diversity of the event. I am also the liaison to InterPride and to EPOA.

Martin Xaver Dover (MXD): I’m in charge of all things communication-ish. Everything that comes close to social media, outreach to the press, drafting and producing promotional materials and just making our event sound just as awesome as it’s going to be, well, all of that lands on my desk.

Lars Christian Østergreen (LCØ): I am the Managing Director of Happy Copenhagen. Going forward our focus will be to develop the WorldPride event in Copenhagen and to ensure the foundation for the organisation behind. I am responsible for developing our organisation and managing the staff in our secretariat working on promoting and developing Copenhagen 2021.

Helle Bjørnstrup (HB): I am responsible for the more commercial part of Copenhagen Pride. To mention a few of my tasks within Copenhagen Pride I make our support wristband and I make all graphic material – printed and online – such as posters, banners, programs, cover photos etc. I set up our online Facebook events, maintain our website and do the invoicing of our sponsors.

How did it feel when you realised in Indianapolis that you’d won? 

MXD: I remember looking at the bars indicating the votes, and after a brief moment I realised the larger one was for Copenhagen. I jumped up and started crying with joy. My first thought: It took a lot of hard work to get to this point. My second thought was: Now we just have to win the bid for EuroGames. My third thought was something like: What have I gotten myself into? Because the hard work has only just started.

LH: Moving, humbling – an incredible relief – and somewhat daunting, as so many people are placing their trust, hopes and dreams with us for 2021. We have worked for the last three years to prepare and rally support. It is a wonderful feeling to have finally delivered on the promises, that WorldPride 2021 WILL be in Copenhagen – now we need to deliver the best, most inclusive and most international event ever. We go to this with great seriousness – very often groups in our community feel left out of mega events like this but we have pledged ourselves to making sure this will NOT be so. We want to show that it IS possible to create an event, that is truly inclusive of and safe for all.

LCØ: At first, I was very surprised. We knew it would not be an easy win, and both my team and especially the supporting European pride organisations had been working very hard on promoting the Copenhagen 2021 bid both ahead of and in Indianapolis. Just before the voting commenced, we were still unsure on the outcome, as there was uncertainty about the level of support among the North American pride organisations. The first thing I did after hearing the amazing result was to give Martin and Lars a big hug, as they are the two I have been with round the clock for the last eighteen months. Lars and I shed tears of happiness from finally seeing the result of our hard work. The next thing I did was to thank the team from Fort Lauderdale and to invite them to continue the dialogue towards 2021.

HB: I jumped! And I believe I screamed a bit of excitement as well. It was somewhat a feeling of joy and relief combined as we have been working towards this moment for quite some time. In the process we have all been emotional wrecks. At times we have felt very insecure about who would win and at other times we have felt quite sure that our bid for WorldPride in 2021 was solid and just what our pride movement needed. I was bouncing back and forth between the two right up to the last seconds before the results from the vote was made public.

You’ve got three years and nine months. What’s the biggest challenge?

LCØ: I believe that our biggest challenge will be to ensure a world event living up to the legacies from the previous WorldPrides and especially the recent one in Madrid and the upcoming one in New York in 2019; and at the same time also show the world OUR Copenhagen, an amazing open and inclusive city, where you can be yourselves, no matter your sexuality or gender.

HB: We have a huge workload ahead of us in making this WorldPride truly inclusive. We must make sure we have representatives of all the community part of the planning process to ensure that all voices are heard in order to make Copenhagen 2021 a WorldPride for everyone. This is not an easy task at all and it is something that we take very seriously. As a 38 year old female-identified cisgendered lesbian I do not see the world through the eyes of a 17 year old muslim bisexual man or a 57 year old transgendered woman, which is why it is so important to include as many representatives of the LGBTQIA+ community as possible to make Copenhagen 2021 truly inclusive.

LH: Needless to say the inclusivity as described above is a challenge, as it has to be tangible, to be felt by all, and not end up as a talking point. We realise that no matter what we do or how we do it, there will be criticism, but we are determined to listen and learn from now and until the closing of the event. Raising funds is of course a challenge too but we are doing well already on that front. In 2009 Copenhagen hosted a very successful World OutGames in 3 years, and we have an additional 9 months which we can easily use, but the positive thing is that the experience from 2009 means that all of Copenhagen are now aware of the positive effects of such an event, and we can feel that in our talks with stakeholders. Another challenge is that so many expect so much of the event for themselves personally and for their organisations, to not disappoint peoples expectations, and at the same time these high hopes are a luxury, because everyone stands at the ready to chip in.

MXD: Oh the biggest challenge is making this event truly inclusive and truly global, because we strive for nothing less. All of our team is committed to making sure that everyone feels safe and embraced in Copenhagen 2021. We’re already working with activist groups from all letters of the acronym, but we will make mistakes down the road and we will have to learn from those.

And what are you looking forward to the most?

HB: I love the planning process of a pride, but the biggest moment for me and what I look forward to the most when it comes to WorldPride in Copenhagen in 2021 is to witness all our plans become a reality and to see the thousands of people feeling free, loved and included in our beautiful city.

LCØ: I look forward to working with prides and LGBTQ organisations from both Denmark, Europe and the rest of the world. Through my job over the last two years, I have met the most fantastic activists from all over the world. Together I am certain that we can create something with a European touch that will give activists, pride participants and athletes unique experiences and tools to bring home after WorldPride 2021.

MXD: Making this event truly inclusive and global. It will be a challenge, but it’s also why I signed up with the Copenhagen 2021 team in the first place: Because WorldPride and EuroGames should be all about inclusivity and our global movement. I’m so excited about working with all kinds of people and all parts of our community in the years ahead to help us do this.

LH: The faces of people when the event unfolds. 2009 was a completely life changing event for me personally – for the first time ever, I was part of what was felt as the majority of the city, as rainbows unfolded everywhere and every nook and alley of Copenhagen was filled with LGBTI+ individuals from all over the world. In 2021, twelve years will have passed and it is time to instil this feeling in a new generation of young people and hopefully create a new generation of activists. I also look forward to inviting people from places in the world where LGBTI+ individuals face far graver challenges than in Denmark and empower, embolden and inspire them in their freedom fight. Their example should be the standard we are all measured by.

Your theme is #YouAreIncluded. What does it mean to you?

LCØ: Three words says it all, and we truly mean it when we are working hard on ensuring that everyone has a say in our event. The Danish Prime Minister spoke to support our bid, and concluded by saying that in Denmark all of us are welcome, because #YouAreInculded! To me that means we all have a place to feel included, and that is exactly what I will do my best to realise over the coming three and a half years.

HB: #YouAreIncluded means that everyone who attends Copenhagen 2021 feels that they are included. Everyone should feel that they have been on our minds when we were planning WorldPride.

LH: That no matter who you are, where you come from, how you identify, what socio-economic background you have, your ethnicity, religion, gender or otherwise, our event is FOR you and BY people like you. That we are safe for all, inclusive of all, and have done all we can so that everyone feels that they have a place and a voice in our event.

MXD: I’m from a small town a few hours away from Copenhagen. Growing up, I experienced many instances where people were made to feel less human in one way or another. It could be based on skin colour, ethnicity, body shape, socio-economic status, your grades in school. All sorts of things. In my case, it was about my sexuality. #YouAreIncluded means that no matter who you are, who you love, how you present, and regardless of everything else, you will feel embraced and loved at Copenhagen 2021.

What’s your favourite Pride moment?

MXD: My best pride moment has to be Copenhagen Pride 2015. I wasn’t attending myself, but the year before, I had brought my parents for their first pride. They loved the feeling, the vibe, the people – everything about it. And in 2015, they went themselves. I always felt like they’ve stood up for me. But knowing that they went for the pride march without me, I knew they were also standing up for everyone else and that made me very proud.

HB: I have been attending Copenhagen Pride Week for quite some years before I joined the team. While I have had many fun and festive moments throughout the years, my biggest moment was the first Copenhagen Pride Week I was part of planning. It was very emotional to see all the hard work and passion for Copenhagen Pride turn into this amazing event that means so much for all of our attendees. When I looked over the crowd at Pride Square and witnessed the huge amount of love and joy I got very emotional and extremely proud of being part of a team who made this happen. And that feeling returns every year.

LCØ: One among lots of others was Stockholm Pride 2016. I was walking in the parade together with some friends. The weather had been nice, but half way through the parade, suddenly the skies darkened and a cloudburst was drenching everyone. It was a magic moment standing in the warm summer rain surrounded by happy people parading through the streets of Stockholm dancing, cheering and waving to the huge crowds of onlookers to the Pride. After a few minutes the rain suddenly stopped and the sun came shining once again on all of us and I was feeling even more proud and happy to be a part of all of this.

LH: Oh – there are many! in 2009 at the opening ceremony in Copenhagen, when the lights shone in the night sky and rain suddenly started to fall. Because of the lights we could see the raindrops far up in the sky, long before we felt them – and they looked like silver glitter descending upon us. I remember standing still for a moment in the vast crowd of people – it was as if everyone looked up at the sky and became silent – we wondered: What is this? Is it glitter? How did they manage to do this? Suddenly we felt the rain on our upturned faces, and it felt invigorating and liberating. The music returned (or rather, my consciousness did) and people started dancing like mad – living the moment. It was as if a higher power was celebrating with us.

Can I share two more moments? In 2017 I was in the Pride in Istanbul – police chased us, and used water cannons, rubber pellets and tear gas  – and we ran around in the streets to escape them and at the same time gather as a group. At one point, in an intersection, we were a few hundred who managed to unfold a large banner and read a declaration via a bull horn, before the police again dispersed us, arresting a few activists – but the feeling of having stood up to oppression and defied their effort to silence us was powerful – and the sense of achievement and victory I could feel from the Turkish activists was beautiful and meaningful.

Generally – in every Pride I participate in, some individual touches me and becomes a lasting memory. There are people within our community that display an enormous strength and courage. Either because of their personal circumstances, or because they live in oppressive societies. When I meet them and see how much they can do at such peril to themselves, I feel that my own contribution fades in comparison with them – but I am tremendously inspired, and always end up expecting more of myself – which is a great catalyst for my work.

Copenhagen Pride will take place from 13-19 August 2018. For more information, sign up to Copenhagen 2021‘s mailing list.

Photo: Jesper Hyldal
Editor: Steve Taylor

Thessaloniki selected to host EuroPride 2020

Posted by | EuroPride | No Comments

in case of winning-01The Greek city of Thessaloniki will host EuroPride in 2020, following voting by members of the European Pride Organisers Association at their annual meeting in Gothenburg, Sweden, on Saturday 23rd September 2017.

Thessaloniki Pride won a clear majority of votes in the second round of voting. Bergen Pride (Norway), The Belgian Pride (Brussels), and Hamburg Pride (Germany) were also standing. Click here to see all four bids.

Kristine Garina, President of the European Pride Organisers Association, said:

“To have four incredible bids as we did this year shows the importance of the Pride movement. And EuroPride in Thessaloniki will have a special resonance as it will be the first time in that region, and provide a focal point for LGBTI Pride activists across south east Europe. I congratulate Thessaloniki Pride on gathering such amazing support.”

“I also wish to thank the teams from Bergen, Brussels and Hamburg for putting together excellent bids. All could have easily hosted EuroPride, but there can be only one winner. They should all be very proud of what they created.”

Thanos Vlachogiannis of Thessaloniki Pride said:

“We would like to thank the members of the European Pride Organisers Association for granting Thessaloniki the honour and responsibility to host the 2020 EuroPride. It is a major opportunity for the LGBTI movement in Europe to show its solidarity and fight for equality and inclusion where the everyday battle for visibility and well being of LGBTI community takes place. This cornerstone decision reflects our determination to welcome EuroPride in south east Europe for the first time and deliver the message to our society and Europe that we can make breakthroughs despite the harsh conditions. Organising a safe, political EuroPride that is still full of vibe and excitement is a challenge and a promise of ours to Europe and the world.”

Ingrid Linde Bakken of Bergen Pride said:

“We want to thank all the members of EPOA and everyone else who gave their support to our bid. We think it is amazing that four cities applied for the license of EuroPride 2020, and wish Thessaloniki Pride the best of luck with the event in 2020.”

Frank Schoenmakers of The Belgian Pride said:

“We are disappointed that EuroPride 2020 isn’t coming to Brussels, but we’re far from discouraged. Creating the bid and the campaign, was already an enriching experience, that brought a multitude of partners around the table for a close collaboration. It stirred up creativity and brought us into contact with a lot of other prides, leading to a lot of actions that we will integrate in the next Belgian Pride events.”

“Our ambition to organise a large, international pride event remains in place, and the experience we gained will help us in our next campaign. EuroPride has never taken place in the European capital, and we’re confident that we’ll host it one year or another. The unique situation of the Belgian Pride, being situated in the political heart of Europe, makes that we’ll grow more and more towards a permanently European pride, especially in 2019 when the European elections will take place.”

Stefan Mielchen of Hamburg Pride said:

“Hamburg sends their congratulations to Thessaloniki Pride. It is inspiring to see how four European partners were competing to host this major European LGBTI rights event. We wish our winning friends good luck in the upcoming preparation! Also, we are happy about the opportunity to present the bid for Hamburg. Even though we didn’t take the EuroPride home, we are confident about having prepared an ambitious, fruitful and inclusive pride project. We esteem the loving support we received from the Hamburg community as well as the Hamburg Parliament that granted their unanimous support to our project. Special thanks also to Hamburg Marketing for accompanying us with all their expertise in this matter. This bid wasn’t possible without the backing support of numerous enterprises, institutions and community partners in our city. Now, we are looking forward to keeping up the fight for the rights and respect for sexual minorities on a local, regional, national and international level. No matter if in Hamburg, Bergen, Brussels or Thessaloniki – contact and dialogue are crucial for a world of diversity, freedom and solidarity.”

In 2018 EuroPride takes place in Stockholm and Gothenburg, Sweden, and in 2019 in Vienna, Austria.

Voting ‘on a knife-edge’ as four cities bid for EuroPride 2020

Posted by | EuroPride | No Comments
  • Bergen (Norway), Brussels (Belgium), Hamburg (Germany) and Thessaloniki (Greece) all in the running, only the second time four Prides have bid in the same year in EuroPride’s history
  • EuroPride is a pan-European international LGBTI event featuring a Pride parade hosted by a different city each year since 1992
  • Voting for EuroPride 2020 takes place at the European Pride Organisers Association AGM in Gothenburg, Sweden, 22nd-24th September, with the winner announced approx. 1700CET on Saturday 23rd September
  • View the Bid Documents in full

Voting takes place this weekend on which city will host EuroPride, Europe’s main Pride festival, in 2020. For only the second time in the event’s 25 year history four cities are bidding, and organisers say it will be the most hotly contested EuroPride selection process yet.

BerBruHamTheThe European Pride Organisers Association (EPOA), which licenses EuroPride, brings together the organisers of LGBTI Pride events across Europe, and its members are gathering in Gothenburg, Sweden, for their annual meeting, beginning tomorrow.

Bergen Pride in Norway, the Belgian Pride in Brussels, Hamburg Pride in Germany, and Thessaloniki Pride in Greece are all running.

Representatives of each Pride will formally present their bids to EPOA members tomorrow, ahead of voting and a result expected Saturday afternoon. Each bid has the enthusiastic support of the mayor and leaders of their respective cities.

EPOA’s President, Kristine Garina, who organised EuroPride in Riga, Latvia, in 2015, commented on the voting this weekend:

At its core, Pride is a human rights movement that changes lives. It gives visibility to all sections of the LGBTI community and is a force for change, and an in increasingly intolerant world, Pride could not be more relevant or more important. The diversity of the four Prides who are bidding shows just how important it is.

Each of the four Prides have produced comprehensive bid documents, all of which tell a compelling story about why EuroPride should be awarded to their city. It’s clear that whoever wins, EuroPride 2020 will be a stand out year in the history of the event.

Joakim Aadland, President of Bergen Pride, said:

Bergen is one of Norway’s most culturally diverse cities, packed with history and tradition. The city’s culture and amazing scenery will help to create a EuroPride that will stand out, and we will use our political commitment to work on improving the rights of all LGBTI people in Europe.

During the recent years we have all witnessed political movements and extremist groups in Europe trying to create division among minorities. Common for these are their hatred against a diverse and open society. Bergen will use its position as a city in one of the most gender equal and progressive countries in the world, to create a platform against these extremist threats that are trying to divide us.

Our slogan is ‘United by Pride’ and a EuroPride in Bergen will be noticeable all over Europe and hopefully unite minorities in a common fight against hate and segregation.

If Bergen gets the opportunity to host EuroPride we would be the smallest host city ever, and we would use this to our advantage. This way we can send a signal throughout Europe that no matter the size of your community, you can be a part of a movement making a change.

Marian Lens, Board Member of The Belgian Pride, said:

Brussels is the second most diverse city in the world, and for us that’s more than just a statistic. Walking through its streets and riding its tramways, you hear every possible language around you, you feel intensely its cosmopolitan character. People are truly open-minded and respect others for who they are. What better place to organise a global event, rich in human values, such as EuroPride!

EuroPride 2020 should come to the European capital for a very important reason: it will be the first under the new EU Commission, after the European elections. Apart from having a great and colourful celebration, we will create a true activist event, involving LGBTI movements across the continent. Europe should be at the forefront once again of ensuring freedom, respect for human rights and equality among its own member states and at the international level.

Only in Brussels can we involve Europe in such an intensive way, and drape its new policy makers in rainbow colors. With the success and reputation of Belgian Pride, known for its inclusivity, it’s now time for EuroPride to come to ours and Europe’s capital for the first time. Let’s make it happen!

Nicole Schaening, Second Chairperson of Hamburg Pride, said:

‘United in Pride’, is the motto of Hamburg’s bid for EuroPride 2020 and we invite the European LGBTI community to gather in Hamburg. It is a perfect place to host this event: as a port city, Hamburg is a gateway to the world with an open spirit. The Hamburg city Parliament supported the application with a unanimous decision and thus EuroPride 2020 becomes a matter for the entire city.

As passionate Europeans and as a queer community, we are part of the broader community of shared values which is currently facing major political and social challenges. EuroPride 2020 gives the opportunity to discuss issues relating to diversity, acceptance and equality in Europe on a major public stage. Our bid includes an international human rights conference that shall shift focus on LGBTI issues. An outreach programme enables activists from as many countries as possible to speak up for human rights. Also, a EuroPride Village in the heart of the city gives space to Europe’s queer organisations to present their cause. With a year-round events programme, 2020 will be the Year of Pride in Hamburg.

Fenia Kirkmali, Volunteer Coordinator for Thessaloniki Pride, said:

2020 marks a new era for EuroPride and Thessaloniki marks a new region where EuroPride has never been hosted before. In Thessaloniki Pride, we envision EuroPride 2020 as the future where inclusion is the number one priority and we are bidding because we want to give the chance and offer the liberating experience of participation in EuroPride to LGBTI people from Greece, the Balkans, Turkey, LGBTI refugees and migrants, and other people who otherwise couldn’t participate.

It’s our strong belief that no matter someone’s financial situation, their background, the place they live or their refugee status, everyone should be able to join EuroPride. As the success of EuroPride is already certain in a region that needs it the most, EuroPride 2020 can accomplish its purpose because it will be used as a lever to promote LGBTI rights in Greece and support the whole Greek LGBTI community.

Most importantly, with the city being a crossroad of the Balkans, EuroPride in Thessaloniki will become a safe platform for everyone to freely express themselves and give voice to LGBTI people in all its neighbouring countries.

Next year’s EuroPride will take place in Stockholm and Gothenburg, Sweden, the first time it has been split between cities. In 2019 it will be in Vienna, Austria.


Notes to Editors

  1. The four bid documents can be found on the EPOA website.
  2. EuroPride is a pan-European international LGBTI event featuring a Pride parade hosted by a different city each year. It has run in a different city every year since 1992. Further explanation and a full list of previous hosts can be found on the EPOA website.
  3. Pride organisations (not individuals) are eligible to join EPOA, and each member organisation has one vote on the EuroPride selection.
  4. The European Pride Organisers Association (EPOA) is a network of European lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) Pride organisations. It was founded in London in 1991. EPOA’s purpose is to promote LGBTI Pride on a pan-European level and to empower and support local and national Pride organisations in their efforts planning and promoting Pride celebrations.
  5. The EPOA Annual General Meeting is being held at the Clarion Post Hotel, Gothenburg, Sweden, from Friday 22nd September to Sunday 24th September. The results of the EuroPride vote will be announced on EPOA’s social media (including a live stream on Facebook) on Saturday 23rd September at approx. 1700CET.
  6. Media wishing to attend the AGM should contact Steve Taylor (below).

Further Information

Steve Taylor, Communications Coordinator, EPOA
Email / Tel +44 77 29 24 29 46

Bergen: Ingrid Linde Bakken, Bergen Pride

Brussels: Frank Schoenmakers, Board Member, The Belgian Pride

Hamburg: Matthias Laiss, Media Spokesperson, Hamburg Pride

Thessaloniki: Thanos Vlachogiannis, Spokesperson, Thessaloniki Pride

Istanbul Pride must go ahead safely, say EPOA and InterPride

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Following the banning on Saturday 24 June of the Istanbul Pride event due to take place on Sunday 25 June, the European Pride Organisers Association and InterPride have written to the Mayor of Istanbul, as follows:

To Mr. Vasip Sahin
Governor of Istanbul

Madrid, June 24th 2017

Subject: Istanbul Pride 2017
Your excellence,

This week, World Pride is taking place in Madrid. World Pride connects the LGBTI-community around the world, celebrating that LGBTI people are a part of society wherever they are in the world.

InterPride, the global federation of pride organizers, together with the European Pride Organisers Association, is deeply concerned that the Istanbul Pride March planned for Sunday June 25th has been banned. Istanbul LGBTI+ Pride Week has been organized since 1993, ending with a Pride March on Istiklal Avenue since 2002.

Demonstrations and marches are integral to basic human rights concerning the freedom of expression and association. The ban is in clear violation not only of the legal precedents of the European Court of Human Rights, but also of international treaties ratified by Turkey.

A strong and self-confident democratic country is able to embrace diversity and to withstand those who deny others their basic human rights. With your statement in which you ban the Pride march, you legitimize groups or individuals who make threats and commit hate crimes by suggesting that there are “sensitivities.”

For many years we have seen very successful pride events taking to the streets of Istanbul, celebrated by many LGBTI people. We urge you to ensure that the Pride march takes place safely and securely with respect for the human rights of every participant and spectator. You must also consider how this can be protected in the years to come.

Yours sincerely,

President of European Pride Organisers Association
Kristine Garina

Co-president of InterPride
Sue Doster & Brett Hayhoe

PrideRadar 2016

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PrideRadar shows strength of Pride movement in Europe


radar-europeEPOA has welcomed publication of the 2016/7 PrideRadar report from InterPride’s Human Rights Committee.

PrideRadar surveys LGBT+ Pride organisations from around the world, bringing the data together to provide a fascinating and compelling analysis of the state of the Pride movement worldwide.

The report found a total of 339 Pride organisations in Europe, with the United Kingdom, Germany and Sweden having the most. This represents one Pride event for every 2.2 million inhabitants. There were 148 Prides in northern Europe, 110 in western Europe, 12 in eastern Europe, and 67 in southern Europe.

There are many challenges facing Pride organisers in Europe. Pride events have been met with restrictions, violence and political opposition in the Baltic, the Balkans, Turkey, the Ukraine and elsewhere, and in France Pride events have been forced into financial difficulty as a result of terrorist attacks forcing their postponement.

EPOA will be doubling its effort to encourage more European Prides to join the Association, and the Board will be exploring options for how it can support Pride organisers in hostile nations, beginning with the Board’s first meeting of 2017 which will take place in Sofia, Bulgaria.