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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, di­va­ 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 di­valit­er­aryfes­ti­ 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.

Linda Ri­ley PUB­LISHER

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