Swindon protests against anti-LGBTQ+ group

Scott Hunter, Swindon Socialist Party

On Sunday 11 June, Socialist Party members attended a demonstration in support of LGBTQ+ rights in Swindon town centre.

Swindon’s Wyvern theatre hosted Drag Queen Story Hour – an all-ages show where drag queens read children’s stories. Far-right group Patriotic Alternative had announced their intention to protest against the event and, in response, local groups in Swindon organised a counter-demonstration to support the show and those families attending, as well as to advocate for LGBTQ+ rights. 

Happily, our numbers on the day far outweighed the far-right. Socialist Party members put forward a programme that links the fight for LGBTQ+ liberation to a broader socialist programme for the transformation of society. This met with a good response from the other demonstrators who know too well that the progress made in LGBTQ+ acceptance over recent decades is in danger of being ripped away as the capitalists seek scapegoats for their crises. The Tories’ ‘culture wars’ stoke division while Starmer’s Labour doesn’t offer much of an alternative.

We distributed dozens of leaflets, sold copies of the Socialist newspaper and received donations to our fighting fund. People gave us their details to find out more about joining the Socialist Party.

As we prepare to launch a new Socialist Party branch in Swindon on 19 June, after 18 months of regular work to build, finding an echo for our ideas at this protest has confirmed my confidence that the branch will win more people to socialist ideas.