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From The Socialist newspaper, 29 June 2001

Rebuild Pride's Fighting Traditions

IN FOUR years Labour has only delivered two major reforms on gay rights - an equal age of consent, and lifting the ban on gay people in the military.

Lionel Wright, Socialist Party Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Group

In this situation, Pride, which takes place this weekend on 30 June is as important as ever; as a celebration of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) visibility and an out-and-proud demonstration for equality and against the reactionary right.

Pride arose from our community's struggles against oppression. The first march was organised in New York to commemorate the historic Stonewall Riots of 1969.

In Britain the march grew slowly and steadily until 1988, when the Tory government introduced Section 28.

From then on attendance at Pride leapt by tens of thousands and not long after a Pride Festival attracted over 300,000.

If these numbers could be mobilised regularly it would send a message that lesbians, gay men, bisexuals and transgender people are a force to be reckoned with.

Sadly, Pride's fighting traditions are now being undermined by commercialism. Both parts of the event are now controlled by the Mardi Gras business group (MG).

Pressure from activists has prevented MG from dropping the name 'Pride', and forced it to keep a political theme on the renamed 'March and Parade' (this year it is Partnership Rights).

Faced with a 15 minimum gate charge, over-priced drinks etc, thousands have deserted the 'Mardi Gras Festival'.

The dominance of Festival advertising, ambiguous 'March and Parade' tag and an emphasis on floats have all affected the character of the event.

The Socialist Party LGB group calls on activists to save Pride, in the first instance by supporting the march with placards and banners.

There are now at least two campaigns with the stated aim of taking Pride back into non-profit community control. The latest is called "Pride not Profit".

Meanwhile, last month an LGBT contingent took part in the May Day protests in Oxford Street.

So long as discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people continues, the political traditions behind Pride will survive and continue.

The Socialist Party calls for:

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In The Socialist 29 June 2001:

Stop Privatisation

Unity To Drive Out Fascists!

Deeds Not Words Needed To Stop Privatisation

Rebuild Pride's Fighting Traditions

Inside Britain's Secret State: Interview with David Shayler

Uprising In Algeria


 

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Related links:

Pride:

triangleWarts-and-all account of class war and the struggle for LGBT+ rights

triangleEast London Socialist Party: Pride and Politics, fighting LGBTphobia

triangleManchester Young Socialists: Pride is Political

triangleSupport for Socialist Party campaigns at biggest ever Leeds Pride

triangleNorthern Pride's a success

Gay:

triangleLessons from the Russian revolution for LGBT+ struggle today

trianglePride 2017: we need a fighting, socialist movement for LGBT+ rights

triangleCanterbury pride

triangleFight Tory and DUP anti-LGBT+ bigotry

LGBT:

triangleFighting corporate takeover at London Pride

triangleNorthern Ireland: DUP propping up the Tories

triangleCorbyn's policies could help fight unhappiness for LGBT+ people

Discrimination:

triangleThe fight against racial discrimination is tied to fighting against capitalist austerity

triangleRefreshing, anticapitalist - but little pointing a way forward

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