Over a million lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people and their supporters took part in the annual London Pride march last Saturday.
They celebrated the 40th anniversary of the city’s first Pride march organised by the radical Gay Liberation Front (GLF).
Rob Goddard, who works for Stonewall ,the LGBT campaign group, told Socialist Worker that there were large contingents of trade unionists and students on the march.
“There were banners and big delegations from just about every trade union,” he said.
“People were chanting ‘remember Stonewall was a riot’ and ‘Pride is a protest, not for profit’.”
Rob also pointed to the contradictions of the event.
“There was real concern that on the 40th anniversary of the first Pride march it seemed to be becoming more and more commercialised,” he said.
Many people complained that Trafalgar Square had been turned into one big corporate stall and that fast food vendors were outnumbering trade union and campaign stalls.
Charities were shoved into Leicester Square because they were not paying the corporate rate.
One charity worker told Socialist Worker, “We were so angry.
“We were kept outside so that businesses could make a profit.”
Nonetheless, there was a political mood at the event.
Laura Miles, a UCU union executive member, told Socialist Worker, “There was a significant anti-Tory presence on the march—everywhere you looked you saw people wearing stickers saying ‘I’ve never kissed a Tory’.
“When the Tory contingent on the march reached Trafalgar Square everyone went quiet.
“Trade unionists and activists are worried about Tory cuts and remember their history of homophobia. We aren’t going back into the closet.”
Hannah Dee, who helped organise the Socialist Workers Party contingent on the march, said, “As soon as we got the SWP placards out they went like hot cakes.”
The placards read “Never trust a Tory—remember section 28”, “Sack Theresa May—no turning back” and “Out, proud and fighting for liberation”.
“We held street meetings as the march assembled,” said Hannah.
“The Socialist Worker headline ‘Tory Scum’ went down brilliantly.”
Love Music Hate Homophobia and Unite Against Fascism had a large contingent on the march.