Michael Johnson, from the Socialist Party’s LGBT group, highlights some of the issues being discussed in this year’s Pride celebrations.
London Pride this year has been beset by controversy. A number of posters it created were seen as advertising Pride as an event for straight people, treating gay men as fashion accessories, and recycling common homophobic bullying by calling negative things “gay.”
At the same time, London Pride organisers were courting notorious corporations such as Barclays Bank, Starbucks and Vodafone as sponsors – an issue that has increasingly caused controversy around the world.
There are serious questions about the discriminatory practices of these companies against LGBT+ people, as well as their role in wider politics. This has led to protests against their involvement, such as at Washington Pride in the US earlier this year.
There are now discussions among parts of the LGBT+ community about the role of Pride events going forward. Pride marches initially marked the anniversary of the Stonewall Riots in 1969 in New York.
They quickly spread around the world as a day to display the strength and community of LGBT+ people and have played a major role in the ongoing struggle for LGBT+ rights since, such as during the Aids crisis and struggle for marriage equality.
Despite what some may argue, the struggle for LGBT+ rights is not over. Within the UK, people in Northern Ireland are still fighting for marriage equality.
LGBT+ people still face harassment and violence, not just from strangers but in work and schools. We are more likely to experience mental health issues and a disproportionate number of LGBT+ young people are homeless.
Rather than try and entice corporations to sell things to take advantage of a mythical ‘pink pound,’ Pride events should be organised by the LGBT+ community.
Alongside celebrating the achievements made, they should provide a forum to develop campaigns on the issues that are affecting our community to ensure the fight for LGBT+ rights continues, rather than be swallowed by rainbow logos.