Socialist Worker

Birmingham Pride marchers show solidarity with refugees

by Tomáš Tengely-Evans
Issue No. 2505

Trade unionists joined Birmingham Pride today

Trade unionists joined Birmingham Pride today (Pic: Socialist Worker)


Thousands of people marched through Birmingham on the LGBT+ Pride march today, Saturday.

A lively bloc of over 300 trade unionists and campaigners led the march despite the organisers best efforts to keep the politics out of Pride.

To chants of "LGBT fight against austerity" and “Refugees are welcome here” the crowd snaked through Birmingham.

The bloc was led by the Bursary or Bust campaign who are fighting the Tories' plans to scrap NHS students' bursaries.

There was an exuberant atmosphere on the bloc.

Marchers were boosted by a 100-strong contingent from the GMB union. Their members at the city council scored a victory against plans to scrap their sick pay last week.

Andy Ridley, a student from London, said, “The Tories agenda is to try and divide us so they can push through attacks on the NHS and austerity

“We're here to shows that we won't let them do that.”

LGBT+ campaigners used the march to build support for refugees and the Pink Bus to Calais campaign.They are raising funds for a pink bus to go on a solidarity to Calais.

Richard from Nottingham was collected for the campaign on the march. He said, “We still live in an overwhelmingly homophobic society. LGBT+ people are still a subjugated group just like refugees.

“There are also LGBT+ refugees in Calais, who will face additional discrimination.”

Many LGBT+ asylums seekers are forced to flee homophobic laws that were brought in by the old colonial powers in the 19th century. Once they come to Britain they face more discrimination and have to "prove" their sexuality.

Jane Namuddu is an asylum seeker from Uganda and part of the Movement for Justice. “When I was detained in Yarl's Wood, I had to fight for my justice,” she said.

“Now we have to fight for those who are still inside.”

At the end of the march campaigners held a small rally and went to Birmingham LGBT Centre instead of the official ticketed event.

Nicola Field from LGBT+ Against Islamophobia said, “Pride was led by NHS students, refugee campaigners and the workers of Birmingham.

“We've stood up to the banks and corporations who try to dominate our movement.

“Now we want to spread what we've done today with our contingent across the country.”


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News
Sat 28 May 2016, 19:58 BST
Issue No. 2505
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