A word from DIVA publisher Linda Riley
Welcome to our Pride issue, DIVA’S curtain-raiser to a summer of loud and proud celebrations of who we are and how far we’ve come as a community. I’m delighted that DIVA’S partnering with Birmingham and Brighton Prides, with Radio DIVA hosting the women’s stage at Pride In London. Check out Pride In London director Polly Shute’s interview for the inside track of what to expect from this year’s event. And talking of Radio DIVA, I’m thrilled to announce that host Heather Peace has been appointed DIVA’S new music editor.
Last month I wrote about the horrific persecution of gay men in Chechnya. This is still happening, reminding us that while Pride gives us the opportunity to celebrate our freedom and our lifestyle here in the UK, others are so much less fortunate. I urge you to visit Amnesty International’s website to find out how you can join their campaign against this terrible abuse. (As DIVA goes to press, we are still waiting for more information about the plight of lesbians and bisexual women in Chechnya. I hope to be able to update you next month; meanwhile, divamag.co.uk will report any developments).
The past few weeks have seen more amazing women writers joining the DIVA Literary Festival and Awards, headline sponsored by The London Women’s Clinic. I’m thrilled that so many established authors are already on board, but we’ll also be showcasing some truly impressive rising stars of the literary world. One of these brilliant young talents, the filmmaker, Youtuber and author Lucy Sutcliffe, gave a wonderfully insightful interview to DIVA’S Carrie Lyell, which you can enjoy on p60. We are also delighted to have DIVA Ally of the Year Denise Welch joining us in Birmingham; Denise will be talking about the leading lesbian character in her book, to be launched at the festival.
The excitement surrounding this festival has exceeded all expectations, but numbers are strictly limited, so if you’d like to come along, please visit divaliteraryfestival.com for all the information you need, including low-cost accommodation options at our host venue, the Hilton Metropole at the Birmingham NEC. When booking, don’t forget the Friday night DIVA Literary Awards too, where you can meet and mingle with the authors.
It can’t have escaped your notice that there’s a general election coming up (and if you’re reading this after 8 June, we’ll have a new government). The last Westminster Parliament boasted the highest proportion of LGB MPS in the world, and I hope that the new batch of MPS will be even more representative of the LGBT community. But these are difficult times, with a new wave of intolerance sweeping across Europe and the US. Progress can never be taken for granted, and the hard-won freedoms we enjoy now can be taken away at the stroke of a pen. I’m not suggesting that any British government wishes to reverse our outstand- ing equality legislation, but there are some powerful voices setting themselves against the forces of liberalism and equality. So be vigilant, be strong and don’t be afraid to call out prejudice and intolerance wherever you find it.
That’s it from me for now. Have a great month, and I’ll see you in the July issue.