Tens of thousands of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people (LGBT) and their supporters joined the annual Pride march in central London last Saturday.
The march was marred by the presence of new Tory mayor Boris Johnson. He supported the Tory government’s Section 28, which banned councils from “promoting” homosexuality in schools.
Johnson has also said that “If gay marriage was OK – and I was uncertain on the issue – then I saw no reason in principle why a union should not be consecrated between three men, as well as two men; or indeed three men and a dog.”
His late appearance, which delayed the march, annoyed many participants. Trade unionists chanted, “Boris, Boris, Boris. Out, out, out.”
James Doherty, the president of the NUJ journalists’ union, told Socialist Worker, “It is wrong that tens of thousands of LGBT people were held up as Boris Johnson either couldn’t get out of bed or was too busy dealing with the effects of the resignation of Ray Lewis, his deputy mayor, to get here in time.
“He has a real cheek to be appearing here. The right is creeping in on a populist agenda.
“But it wants to attack and privatise public services, and allow big business and big profits to take a firmer hold of civil society.
“Johnson has also ensured that the annual Rise festival in London will no longer be anti-racist. What will be next – Pride without LGBT issues?”
Marchers booed equality minister Harriet Harman at the rally at Trafalgar Square over the government’s policy of refusing asylum to LGBT people who face repression abroad, and its attempts to forcefully deport them.
Left Alternative activists ran a vibrant float, handing out leaflets, while dancing and waving to the crowds.
The violence many LGBT people still face was seen in the Hungarian capital Budapest last Saturday when fascists attacked an LGBT dignity march.