Thousands attended Leicester Pride on 2 September assisted by one of the few sunny days this summer. Leicester Socialist Party applied to have a stall in Abbey Park, the venue for the festival. Clothing Company Bizzle Bizzle replied stating that pitch prices started at £300. We responded with the following email:
“Thank you. We are only a small organisation and £300 is beyond our means. It’s disappointing that the Socialist Party is unable to have an official presence, given our role in the past.
“The Socialist Party and its predecessor, Militant, have a proud history of struggle against all forms of oppression. In fact, the first Pride march in Leicester would not have taken place without the intervention of the Socialist Party. The organisers of the Pride march were threatened by the National Front and were considering calling off the march. Socialist Party members suggested a march against prejudice to strengthen the march and increase numbers. We called on our members from other parts of the country to help with safe stewarding of the march as the National Front was threatening to attack it. Two members of the Socialist Party (myself and Steve Score) had threatening visits from the National Front to our homes prior to the march. The National Front turned up on the day but, due to our effective stewarding, they were not able to intimidate the march.”
Unsurprisingly, we have had no response. Although Leicester Pride is registered as a charity, big business has extended its grip on the festival with corporate sponsorships from the likes of Next and Sytner. There was some trade union presence from the Leicester and District Trades Council, the NEU and Unite.
We set up our stall outside the gate to the festival, only to be asked to move further away. Undaunted, we set up further down the street. Our Pride leaflet was received eagerly by many.
Heather Rawling, Leicester Socialist Party
“Trans rights are human rights!” This is what Southampton Socialist Party chanted when we joined forces with the others at ‘Southampton Pride is a protest’ on 26 August.
This year organisers chose to put activists at the front of the march, including the Socialist Party behind a banner saying ‘Pride is a protest’ with many placards in support of trans rights.
Southampton Pride never fails to draw in a massive crowd, and this year was no different in that respect. Trundling around town on my scooter, I came across such a wide range of people, all colourful, excited to attend, and most importantly politically motivated. There is something enormously powerful about a protest, especially when it involves basic rights like living without fear of discrimination and persecution.
Those who attended are hungry for a mass workers’ party that stands for the rights of all.
And if ‘Southampton Pride is a protest’ proved anything to anyone, it’s that when people come together, they can move mountains to make way for rainbows.
Dee Strutt, Southampton Socialist Party
Thousands gathered in the centre of Manchester on 26 August for the Pride parade, with over 200 floats showing support at this ‘Queerly Beloved’ themed event, celebrating ten years of gay marriage.
The parade included floats from companies such as Tesla, whose CEO happily spouts homophobia on Twitter. It seemed clear to me that large parts of the parade was nothing but ‘rainbow capitalism’, something that we had a lot of conversations about on the day.
On 15 August there was an horrific homophobic attack outside ‘Two Brewers’ in Clapham (see ‘Clapham homophobic attack consequence of Tory divide and rule’ at socialistparty.org.uk), and there was another homophobic attack in Brixton shortly after. This comes just after prime minister Rishi Sunak announced a crackdown on gender-neutral toilets, with new non-residential buildings required to have separate bathrooms for men and women. Labour leader Keir Starmer also stated: “A woman is an adult female,” after his party announced it would no longer introduce self-identification for trans people.
Even in the wake of these attacks, Manchester Pride reminds me how lucky I am that people fought so that I could have the freedom to love who I want to love, and that we need to continue to fight for our rights.
Manchester and Salford Socialist Party members attended, with help from members in Liverpool. Many people bought copies of the Socialist and donated to the Socialist Party’s fighting fund, and we held a public meeting on LGBTQ+ rights and socialism on 4 September.
Sam Hey, Manchester and Salford Socialist Party