Pride not profit
OVER 30,000 people took part in the annual lesbian and gay pride march in central London last Saturday. There was a buoyant and political mood, despite attempts over the last few years to take politics out of the event.
One sign of the determination to make the march part of a serious fight for equality was the impressive trade union section. There were national banners from the NUT, NASUWT, UNISON, FBU and GPMU unions, and from the TUC.
Another sign was the emergence of an alternative free sheet produced for the day called the Pink Pauper. It was a deliberate pun on the Pink Paper, a national gay weekly which recently went "upmarket" and tried to charge 1.80 a copy. There was anger that what was once a free festival at the end of the march now costs 15 to get in.
One marcher behind the print workers' GPMU union banner said, "There is a bigger gay scene than ten years ago. But it is so commercialised. And the big question of greater equality in society has not been solved. There is no commitment from New Labour in its manifesto to scrap the anti-gay Section 28 law. We need to make our voices heard."
Many others endorsed the slogan "Pride not profit". Above all there was a feeling that New Labour was fighting shy of tackling anti-gay discrimination. The new home secretary, David Blunkett, is notorious for opposing equality for lesbians and gays.