20 Days Remaining

Saturday 27th
posted by Morning Star in Features

Pride is not just a chance to party – there’s a serious message too, says DAVID SHARKEY

A LONG-STANDING battle between corporations and LGBT politics came to a head this year, a battle that has been raging for decades, focused around the politics of the London Pride march.

After a year of campaigning by the TUC LGBT committee and Sertuc LGBT committee and its member unions, we succeeded in securing the most political Pride in a generation, led by Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners and the trade union LGBT movement, only to have this honour stripped from us at the last minute in favour of corporate interests and commercial enterprise.

The decision to, once again, focus solely on the commercial interests undermines what so many LGBT people need the London Pride festival to be.

We need this day to remember our history and to teach our history to the next generation of LGBT activists and to the many straight allies who attend the event, for where else will they learn it? Certainly not in the current education system.

We need this day to be visible, to campaign, and to organise around LGBT issues that are still being fought.

As the third-largest event in London each year, where better to grow our movement and encourage others to join? And Pride is about celebrating who we are and where we have come from, unapologetically reminding the world that we were not always so welcomed, reminding each other how far we have come and showing the international community that we are a major force to be reckoned with.

Unite national LGBT committee sought out young activists to explain what Pride really means, to reach out to those who see it as just a parade or just an excuse to dress up and drink, and their responses show just how important this historical event has been and must remain.

  • David Sharkey is Sertuc LGBT network secretary.