Pride 2003: Fight The Bigots And Bullies

‘OUT, PROUD and militant’ is the Socialist Party Lesbian Gay Bisexual & Transgender (LGBT) Group message at this year’s Pride. The first, in 1972, was a defiant celebration of LGBT life. Pride continued as a springboard for community action – not the dumbed-down big-business spectacle it is becoming.

Manny Thain

Although important gains have been made, so much more needs to be done. A recent Sigma Research survey found that 34% of gay men in Britain experienced homophobic verbal abuse over the last year.

Nationally, 7% suffered homophobia-motivated assaults – 10% in South Yorkshire and 18.5% in parts of Wales.

Even ‘pro-gay’ legislation comes with strings attached. Take the Employment Equality (Sexual Orientation) Regulations to be introduced in December.

This is supposed to outlaw discrimination at work because of sexual orientation. But the Archbishops’ Council wanted to retain the right to refuse to employ, and to sack, homosexuals.

Churches and other religious institutions employ tens of thousands, including care workers, teachers, secretaries and cleaners. Workers could be forced to ‘prove’ that they are heterosexual believers to keep their jobs.

The government backed the church in parliament. We must campaign to close this discriminatory loophole which applies to any workplace claiming an ethos or belief.

LGBT activists need to campaign in the trade unions. Mobilising the potential power of organised workers could ensure that everyone has full employment rights, free from discrimination.

This is not the only example of New Labour’s right-wing, ‘traditional’ family-values agenda. The consultation document on partnership rights, which aims to legally recognise same-sex relationships, has some welcome proposals – on tenancy succession, next-of-kin recognition, pensions, etc.

But excluding heterosexual couples is divisive. New Labour believes that including them would undermine marriage – which it considers the best form of family.

Heterosexual couples will remain second-class, as will lesbians and gays.

And the tabloid press will try to whip up prejudice with claims that we are getting ‘special treatment’ over heterosexuals! All couples – gay/straight, married/unmarried – should enjoy full and equal rights.

Socialist Party LGBT Group is also taking up homophobic bullying in education by linking up with International Socialist Resistance (ISR – a youth group which came to prominence organising school student strikes against the war in Iraq).

We are highlighting the fact that bullying increases truancy, self-harm and suicide.

  • Pride not profit!
  • Workplace equality!
  • Equal partnership rights!
  • Fight homophobic bullying!

The Socialist Party believes that this class-ridden, profit-driven capitalist system fosters division and discrimination in all its forms. We’re fighting for LGBT liberation and socialist change.

Join us at Pride.

Find out more about our campaigns and meetings:

Contact Marc: 07947 797 254; Manny: 020 8988 8772

Public meeting

The fight for LGBT liberation and socialism

7pm Tuesday 29 July

Study room 1, Central YMCA

112 Great Russell Street

London WC1B

All welcome