Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/726/14857
Pride should be about protest, not profits!
Greg Randall, Socialist Party LGBT group convenor
25,000 marchers took to the streets of London for Pride last Saturday. Pride is the largest LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans) event in the UK but many of the marchers were saying that it was an organisational omnishambles.
Pride started as a political protest for gay and lesbian liberation in 1972 and this year was supposed to commemorate the pioneering struggles of forty years ago, but fell victim to the commercialisation that has infiltrated since then.
With less than a week to go the organisers announced that they were running out of money from commercial sponsors.
Tory Mayor Boris Johnson's Greater London Authority (GLA) reportedly imposed conditions that made the Trafalgar Square rally twice as expensive as in 2011 and did not pay promised funding.
Floats were banned from the march. Losing corporate floats isn't a tragedy, but most floats were run by LGBT community groups or trade unions, who are now out of pocket.
Appeals to the Mayor's office to plug the funding gap fell were spurned. According to LGBT human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell, two companies offered to put up the money needed, but the GLA refused to allow Pride to take it.
The start time was moved from 1pm to 11am due to "security concerns". As Pride is a peaceful event, this must have been to keep numbers down. In past years hundreds of thousands have participated.
Pride should not have to rely on big business advertising budgets or the goodwill of Johnson. It should be a protest organised by LGBT activists. Prejudice has not been beaten and austerity will hit LGBT people hard.
Peter Tatchell warns that the crisis may be used by big business to further remove politics from Pride.
The TUC, a major sponsor of Pride, has called a public meeting on 16 July. The TUC and member unions must take a stand for a political Pride.
Socialist Party members took up these issues on the day. We will fight alongside others to make Pride a protest once more!
In The Socialist 11 July 2012:
Socialist Party NHS campaign
Socialist Party editorial
Youth Fight for Jobs and Education feature
Workplace news and analysis
International socialist news and analysis
Socialist Party reviews and comments
Socialist Party news and campaigns