Community groups and unions call for free, community-lead Pride

Comment by Peter Purton Disability and LGBT Rights Officer TUC

In the aftermath of the problems that afflicted London’s World Pride earlier this month, community groups and LGBT trade unionists have confirmed their support for a national Pride to be held in central London, an event that is free and accessible to all, and a celebration as well as a demand for equality.

Ninety representatives of London LGBT community groups and LGBT union representatives met at the TUC’s central London headquarters last night (Monday 16th July 2012) to debate the future of Pride London after the last-minute and drastic restrictions imposed on the World Pride event.

The meeting agreed a set of principles that should apply to future Prides:

* it should be free to all participants

* it must be fully inclusive of all sections of the LGBT community

* it should be a celebration, but retain its political cutting edge and campaign for LGBT equality and liberation nationally and internationally

* it must be led by the LGBT communities themselves, not have its shape or content determined by commercial sponsors or public bodies.

A smaller meeting open to a representative of every LGBT community group and union that wishes to participate will take place in early September to allow more discussion on the principles, which will then be fed into the AGM of Pride London.

TUC LGBT officer Peter Purton said: “There was anger at the way Pride had been treated, and after debate it was clear that although differences remain, we have much common ground about the way forward. The TUC is delighted to have been able to facilitate this meeting and to help develop a way forward for future Prides.”

Comment by Mark Healey Founder of 17-24-30

I attended yesterday’s meeting at the Trade Union Congress house which was called after an emergency motion was passed at this year’s TUC LGBT Conference (5th/6th July).

The meeting was chaired by Maria Exall (CWU) TUC LGBT Committee and speakers included; Peter Purton (Disability & LGBT Officer TUC), Wendyl Harris (Outrage), Kirsten Hearn (Inclusion London, Regard),David Starkey (SERTUC LGBT, Left Front Art),  Tony Hughs (Pride London Interim Chair), Diana Nancy Taylor (Community Pride), Lesley Goodman (Unite the Union, SERTUC), Martin Pendergast (Soho LGBT Community Forum), Greg Randall (Unite, SERTUC, Convenor Socialist LGBT group), Betty Gallagher (Unite the Union), James J Walsh (Pride Trust), Philip Ingleson, Sue Saunders (NUT, Schools Out), Lady Phyll Opoku (PCS, GMB, UK BlackPride), Dee Dee (Queer Strike), Mohammed (RMT, Imman), Michael Brown (GLF, Opening Doors), Hannah Dee (Socialist Workers Party), Colin Wilson (Socialist Workers Party, No Pink Washing, Stop the Cuts), Nick Maxwell (Opening Doors), Alex Tarran (independent Facebooker), Bobby (Newcastle March for Jobs), Paul Penny (RMT LGBT Advisory), Mark Delacour and ??? (London LGBT Consortium) and me Mark Healey (17-24-30 No to Hate Crime Campaign). Peter Purton summed up the meeting.

On the whole I thought that it was a good meeting, a lot of people got to speak and put forward their ideas. There was obviously a lot of residual anger and frustration about recent events but clear agreement that Pride should be an inclusive, free, community-lead event with a strong campaigning element and celebration. Personally I hope we can encourage people across the communities to work together to make the legacy of future Pride events something that we can all be proud of.

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About mhealey

Founder of 17-24-30 No to Hate Crime Campaign
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