FQRD June 1994:
the Pride Week in Paris

Paris Pride Week is organized by the Comité Gay Pride, an association gathering many individuals and associations to this aim. It is located at the centre Gai et Lesbien.

The Pride Week agenda (June 10, to 19)

Friday, June 10:
- Opening of the week, with a lot of happening in different gay and lesbian places,
- Great meeting : Summer leather organized by the ASMF an association for Sport and Motorcycle.
Saturday, June 11:
- Picnic instead of the yearly "Salon de l'homosocialité"
Sunday, June 12:
- Gay Tea Dance at Le Palace, with a Gay Pride stand for informations, help and support, also during May and June
- A soccer match organized by El Scandalo and L'Entracte, two lesbian spots.
Monday, June 13:
- Discussion panels at Centre Gai et Lesbien: Aids
Tuesday, June 14:
- Panels: having a gay child; society and the homosexual marriage
- special evening at Le Bar
- "Défilons ensemble contre le SIDA", a fashion show against AIDS at Le Palace.
Wednesday, June 15:
- Panels: homophoby; faith and homosexuality
- special evening at Le Banana Café, a very funny and trendy bar.
- Lesbian evening at El Scandalo, then at L'Entracte.
Thursday, June 16:
- Panels: homosexual politics and culture
- special evening at Le Subway
Friday, June 17:
- Panels: lesbian visibility; women and Aids
- Film festival and evening organized by the association "Résister, vivre la memoire", from 6pm to 6 am
- "Il était une fois Tatahouine", a manly but musical comedy, at Le Trianon (also Saturday evening and Sunday afternoon)
Saturday, June 18:
- "Grande Marche Homosexuelle" in Paris, at 3pm, from Place de la République, through La Bastille, to Nation.
- pre-lunch drinks proposed by the gay and lesbian businesses.
- a closing evening (night) at La Mutualité, from 9pm to the morning.
Sunday, June 19:
- Gay Tea Dance with IEM at Le Palace, from 5pm
- After Gay Pride at Le Palace, from 11:30pm
- A special Lesbian Gay Tea Dance, at La Champmeslé, from 7pm

Salon de l'Homosocialité

Paris Pride Week should have been opened with an annual forum, called "Salon de l'Homosocialité", both an exhibition and a meeting of all the French G/L/B associations and commercial organizations.

Unfortunatly the Police headquarter decided to reject the agreement to organize the Salon at the scheduled place, Quai de la Tournelle. This decision took place after that Gai Pied, the organizer of the Salon, started its promotion. Gai Pied is also the organizer of the annual ball, standing on July 13, Bastille Day eve, at the same place.

Saturday, May 11: Spontaneous Picnic

Queers were invited to set up a informal picnic, Quai de la Tournelle, and to come numerous, with their friends, potatoes, tomatoes, wine, beer, bread, all what they need to have a good time along the Seine. About 200 people gathered on the Quai.

A lot of wind and sand, showers, but also friendly people sharing a good afternoon, in front of the Seine and of the Cathedrale Notre Dame.

The Salon will eventually take place on September 17 and 18, at the same location.

Saturday, June 18: Grande Marche Homosexuelle

The route of the parade at Paris Jun 18 has been decided after a very long discussion with the police. It starts at Place de la République, goes to Place de la Bastille and ends at Place de la Nation: a very classical track for political demonstrations, but a long way from the center and the gay-land (Le Marais).

The album

Starting from Place de la République:

ACT-UP Paris' 5 years birthday cake:

Among many associations, Les Gais Retraités:

and Le Club de la Fessée:

Across Place de la Bastille:

Along rue du Faubourg Saint-Antoine, with the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence:

Arriving Place de la Nation:

The monument dedicated to the nation was actually Queer Nation (!):


Photographs (C) 1994 - René Lalement

A report

The 1994 French pride has been a terrific and unprecedented success. Round 35,000-40,000 (?) diverse/colourful LGBTs are assessed to have marched and danced in an electric atmosphere. The national media (press/ TV/radio) covered the event in feature reports, placing it in context of the 25th Stonewall anniversary.

The weather, exceptionally hot and sunny, might account for part of the success but it seems that the latter has also marked a reviving/raising political consciousness among the French LGBT community. A (re)awakening appears to be all the more essential in reaction to the recent rise of populist profamily/extreme right-wing parties. The don't-ask-don't-tell attitude, which has prevailed for ages in France and was justified by Republican ideals of tolerance and equal rights to anyone regardless of idiosyncracies turns out in such as context as inadequate an excuse for hypocrisy and cowardice.

Furthermore, the march was only the highlight of a successful and exciting Pride Week, and that makes Paris a potential candidate to be the host city of a Europride, should this tendency be confirmed.


Wim

A comment: a March or a Parade?

This is another comment somewhat departing from the enthusiasm shown above.

Obviously, the march was a huge success, and a growing one; more than twice the number of 93', itself twice of 92'. For the first time, lesbians were truly visible, and many pride flags were shown (though some were set upside down!). At least, this march was important for those who participated for the first time. The march lasted more than 4 hours, and therefore was watched by a large crowd along the streets and was reported by the media. Right.

But, what image did we offer to the crowd and the media, in addition to this huge number? Mainly, "Fun and Aids", more a Parade than a March, with the american meaning of the "March on Washington", or "The March on the United Nations". However, it was a special opportunity: 25 years after Stonewall, 4 months after the Europarliament resolution (based on the Roth report), one week after the european elections, one week before the March on the U.N.. On such topics, very few (or no) slogans could be heard or seen. I believe that this opportunity, both of a revival of a political awareness and of putting forward another image, has been missed. I don't know to what extent it was this awareness which moved gays and lesbians to the march. It can be more accurately measured by the participation to the discussion panels organized at the new "Centre gai et Lesbien" all along the Pride Week (which were successful), to the demonstration against the homophobic italian candidate, or to the picnic in place of the yearly Salon de l'Homosocialite, not permitted this year; at most a few hundreds attended any of these events, which didn't get any coverage from the media.

Next year, could it be both a Parade and a March?

René

Copyright Gais et Lesbiennes Branchs, (C) 1995
Photographs (C) 1994 - René Lalement

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