Socialist Worker

Pride is a celebration—but can also be a protest

Issue No. 2606

Pride should be a protest too

Pride should be a protest too (Pic: birminghampride.com)


Tens of thousands of people took part in the Birmingham Pride LGBT+ march and festival last weekend.

Huge crowds marched from Victoria Square to the city’s Gay Village in Hurst Street, marking one of the first Prides of 2018.

A sense of freedom reigned in the streets as people marched.

Pride marches have radical origins as part of the Gay Liberation Movement in the 1970s that fought oppression.

While real gains have been made, LGBT+ people still face discrimination in Britain and still live in a capitalist society that represses and distorts people’s sexuality.

But there are attempts to remove politics from Pride.

In Birmingham the trade union bloc was big, lively and young, but was pushed to the back by organisers.

And in Sheffield, Pride organisers said they would not accept “any applications by political groups” because it was a “celebration march not a protest”.

They said “offensive placards” would not be allowed, but didn’t specify what this meant.

The Sheffield organisers’ decision caused outrage from LGBT+ activists online.

Many go to Pride as a celebration—but using that to push out politics is a cover for a more corporate message.

As more Pride marches approach, activists can organise for big, political blocs to make the link between its radical roots and fighting for liberation today.


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