The organisers of Dundee Pride have rejected claims the festival is discriminating against less wealthy people by introducing a VIP ticket.
Tickets for this year’s event, which takes place in Slessor Gardens in September, became available yesterday.
However when the announcement was made on the official Facebook page, it sparked criticism because of a newly introduced £15 VIP option.
🚨TICKETS ARE NOW AVAILABLE FOR DUNDEE PRIDE 2019!🚨Yaaaassss! Get your tickets for Pride Day: Pride Parade and Pride…
The organising committee has insisted that 97% of the festival will remain free, and the additional 250 tickets will help fund its expansion, which it says will cost £42,000 compared to just £16,000 last year.
The VIP area will have its own bar, toilet and also goodie bags provided by event sponsors.
But some said they believed the change created a two-tier system, which went against Pride’s inclusive message.
Gerard Hall, editor of LGBT+ magazine Scene Alba, said: “Nice to see your level of pride depends on how much money you have. Is a non-VIP toilet just a bucket in the corner?”
Denice Copland added: “Disgusted that an inclusive day, is being ruined by organisers who still want to have segregation of the classes!
“Pride is meant to be a day of celebrating being alive in the 21st Century where segregation is a thing of the past!
“Think it’s downright double standards.”
And Kirsty T Wallace-Low added: “Why should we pay for something that’s free almost everywhere else, where does the money go?”
But Tommy Small, co-organiser, said the charity had to strike a balance between offering a wider event for free, while also covering the costs of infrastructure, health and safety and other operating costs.
He said: “We completely understand that people have concerns about the VIP element. But it’s such a small part of it, there are only 250 of those tickets available.
“Last year we had half the people we plan on having this year, and it’s costing us a lot more money to run.
“We have done really well in securing sponsorship, but we just have to make a final push.
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“We are one of the biggest Pride events in Scotland so with that comes responsibility to make sure we keep people safe. It’s not profiteering, that couldn’t be further from the truth.”