Matt has been Executive Director of AllOut since 2016, and previously held roles at ActionAid and Amnesty International in Canada, Germany and the UK.
Matt, aside from Coronavirus, what do you think are the biggest challenges facing the LGBTI community in Europe right now?
A culture war is underway. Progressive enlightenment based on values of human rights and internationalism versus a nativism, nationalism, patriarchy and tradition. Against many of our expectations, these backward looking philosophies are proving increasingly popular in many parts of Europe – they represent a very direct threat to the progress LGBT+ people have made across the continent over the past 30 years.
How can the Pride movement help to combat these challenges?
Pride is a moment of celebration, protest and visibility – all these things strengthen our communities, give individual LGBT+ people hope and show our opponents that we are active citizens and that we aren’t going anywhere! My experience is that Pride – particularly in hostile environments – provides a really unique moment of solidarity and community that boosts and powers individual activists and our movement for many months afterwards.
What’s your biggest hope for Pride in 2020?
My biggest specific hope for Pride 2020 is that our siblings across Poland are able to celebrate Pride in safety and peace. After facing so much hostility and bigotry over the last year, I hope that our international movement rallies to support them in a joyful celebration of Polish LGBT+ people, their right to be who they are, their right to be citizens of their country without fear or intimidation.
Looking further ahead, how would you like to see Pride develop in the rest of the decade?
I’d like to see a situation in which Pride can be celebrated safely and with dignity across every corner of Europe. I’d like us to maintain the legacy of Pride as a moment of protest as well as celebration. I’d like us to continue to honour the brave activists who came before us and those who continue the fight on the frontline today.
Which Prides are you really looking forward to visiting in 2020 or beyond?
I am very much looking forward to visiting as many Prides in Poland as possible!
Finally, what’s your most cherished memory of a Pride?
My most cherished memory is one of the earliest Riga Prides in Latvia and my sense of total admiration for Kaspars and Kristine from Mozaika as they stood firm and strong against hatred and intolerance. It was an honour to be there as part of an Amnesty International group.
You can find out more about AllOut on their website, and follow Matt on Twitter @MatthewBeard14.