Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) activists from across London came together on Monday to reclaim London Pride.
The meeting was called by the TUC following a motion at the TUC LGBT conference in response to the disgraceful scaling back of world Pride in London on 7 July.
Trade unionists, activists and representatives from voluntary organisations crammed into the room, expressing fury at the lack of accountability and transparency from Pride London.
There was also anger at the refusal by Boris Johnson and Westminster Council to allow the full parade to go ahead. Many saw this as an attempt to further erode Pride and as an attack on LBGT rights.
But, while angry, the meeting was positive and determined – a UCU union member summed up the mood declaring to cheers, ''whose streets? Our streets.'
The meeting overwhelmingly called for a return to Pride as a protest and for the setting up of a new grassroots organisation involving a wide representation of LGBT organisations and people.
An organiser of Black Pride argued that this could be a chance to make London Pride a more inclusive event, representative of London's diversity, including migrants.
The meeting repeatedly expressed concern that businesses should not be allowed to control Pride and this message will be conveyed to gay businesses when they gather to discuss London Pride next Wednesday 25 July.
Peter Purton, TUC LGBT Officer, summed up the meeting's four core demands:
- Pride must be free
- It must be inclusive and representative
- It must be a celebratory and campaigning event
- It must be led and organised by LGBT communities
It was agreed that a further meeting would be called in early September by the TUC. Organisations will be asked to send 1 representative to the meeting which will discuss how to run and organise London Pride 2013. Details will be announced shortly.
It was also agreed to ask Pride London to postpone their AGM to hear the outcome of the September meeting, although the mood in the room was opposed to bailing out a failed and unaccountable organisation.
This could provide a real opportunity for LBGT people across London to reclaim Pride as a protest.