Saturday, 13 June 2015

Letter Of The Day: More Pride Shame

The way we walked: London Pride 1985
Like many other trade unionists and activists for the rights of lesbians, gays, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people we had been really looking forward to marching at the front of London Pride this year alongside members of the original Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners (LGSM) in a recreation of the spirit of solidarity so brilliantly depicted in the film Pride in this, the 30th anniversary of the miners’ strike.

We were shocked to see that the Pride in London (PiL) committee has now decided not to allow supporters of LGSM from the unions to march at the front with them, preferring instead to give pride of place to corporate sponsors such as Barclays, Citibank and Starbucks.

This domination of the corporations at Pride must be questioned, and the success of the film Pride should have provided the perfect springboard for that. The fact that the chair of PiL is political head of broadcasting at 10 Downing Street shows how far we have moved from the origins of Pride protests in the Stonewall riots in New York in 1969. It would seem that PiL is echoing the government in its determination to sideline unions and silence protest.

We are determined to challenge the portrayal of Pride as a showcase for multinational companies. Among the companies currently sponsoring Pride are those who must be held responsible for the financial crisis, don’t pay their taxes and don’t allow unions to organise.

LGSM will now be heading a union bloc in the middle of the parade, and we hope people will turn up in large numbers to join in with their posters, placards and loud voices. Thirty years ago we had to take on the union-busters and supporters of clause 28 under Margaret Thatcher. Today David Cameron has made clear his intention to shackle the unions and ramp up austerity measures that will hit LGBT people hard. It’s time to reclaim the true spirit of Pride

Letter to The Guardian signed by LGSM and a number of trade unionists.

Please don't tell me you're surprised by any of this.

There's as much chance of stopping London Pride being a shameless slave-whore to big business as there is of me becoming the next Labour leader.

Pride's original offer to LGSM to lead the parade seemed more about the movie than the movement, anyway.

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