Pride @ GVC
With many Pride events sadly cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic, it’s as important as ever that we remember to find ways to celebrate this year.
"Pride is a celebration of being your authentic self," says Sophie Wood, Inclusion Manager at GVC. "Attending Pride is an act of celebration, but also an act of courage, solidarity and community."
At GVC, our original plans this year focused on supporting Pride globally, in Manila, Manilva (Spain), Gibraltar, and especially Nottingham in the UK for the launch of our new Retail LGBTQIA+ Ambassador Network.
With many such live events now cancelled or postponed for an indefinite period in many countries, there’s been a shift to move things online in order to provide this sense of togetherness and belonging elsewhere.
“Covid-19 does not discriminate, but people who are LGBTQIA+ often are within their homes, towns and cities. Virtual Pride celebrations provide, for a short time, a feeling of acceptance, inclusion and belonging to which we all aspire,” adds Sophie.
Frankie Payas is a Brand Manager in our Gaming Brands team who has been helping organise the Manilva Pride event for the last four years with a group of close friends. "Manilva is a small Spanish town close to Gibraltar with a relatively large LGBTQ+ community," Frankie says, adding, "This would have been our fourth year but sadly this has been postponed due to Covid-19. Planning is exciting but lots of hard work."
Already during lockdown Frankie has been arranging charity shows to help in his local area. So far the team have raised over £3,000, helping charities which are supporting vulnerable and less fortunate families. Not content with this, however, and with Manilva Pride not currently a realistic proposition, Frankie turned his hand to arranging an online event – Online PRIDE – instead. He tells us, "I started noticing many Pride events around the world being also being cancelled."
“Pride is not just about getting together to celebrate and party. It creates a safe place for our community to feel confident and comfortable in their skin. It’s about diversity and equality.”
"I wanted to create that feeling and safe place online whilst many of us are stuck at home, some in unsafe homes or homes where they cannot truly be themselves. My hope is for one weekend, these people can join us and feel part of something. This event will save lives and that is key for me!"
The event will be live-streaming from 3pm on Friday, 1st May until 8pm on Monday, 4th May, with acts from all over the globe, including the UK, USA, Australia, Spain, Nigeria and Canada performing across the weekend, with the goal of raising money for two LGBTQIA+ charities – The Trevor Project and Stonewall UK.
As well as organising Pride events, Frankie is quite a performer too, being a solo artist and one half of a comedy drag duo – Covergirls. He even once made it through to the judges houses on X-Factor, although this wasn't quite the success story that is Manilva Pride, "I wish this was a bit more positive but my experience was not great! I fell ill during filming and unfortunately had to leave the show."
However, the lengths to which Frankie has gone to arrange this event is something that Sophie finds particularly positive and inspirational. "At GVC, we believe that 'Everyone's in the game', and the thing that makes our CEO, Kenny, most proud of GVC is the people."
“For me, when I see Frankie getting involved and doing the right thing for our communities around the world in such a prolific way, I feel that Pride too.”
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