Pride marches should see outpourings of anger against the rise of attacks on LGBT+ people that we’ve seen in recent weeks. That’s why we took to the streets in Manchester on Friday of last week.
We decided to organise a protest after we heard about the homophobic attack on a drag artist and their friends last month.
It happened in the same week that Melania Geymonat and Chris were left bloodied after an assault on a night bus in London.
We divided into two groups and put up posters saying, “Standing up to LGBT+ violence on Manchester’s streets.”
One group went around the Gay Village quarter and another on Oxford Road, where the attack on the drag artist took place.
We wanted LGBT+ people to feel safe on the streets—and the bigots to feel isolated.
And we’re also trying to grow a network of people who can respond, so that attacks aren’t just met with a few articles in the papers.
Jon-Connor Lyons, an LGBT+ activist and Labour councillor, helped to organise the protest. He said the protests showed “we will never be defeated in the face of anti-LGBT+ violence, homophobia and transphobia and all forms of discrimination against our community”.
“Anti-LGBT+ violence is not new, it’s been around a long time, but now were seeing it being politically re-legitimised,” he said.
Jon-Connor attacked Tory leadership hopeful Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party for supporting homophobic MEPs and candidates. He said, “Boris Johnson has called members of the LGBT+ community ‘bum boys’ and attacked Labour’s campaign to repeal Section 28 in 2000.”
Johnson called it “an appalling campaign and compared gay sex to bestiality”.
We need a movement that stands against any attempt to roll back the gains that LGBT+ people have won and responds to attacks.
Pride in London comes just after the 50th anniversary of Stonewall—a riot in New York that gave birth to the Gay Liberation Front (GLF) in both the US and Britain.
The GLF was a militant movement that wanted to tear out the roots of oppression, not just win equality with straight people within an oppressive capitalist society.
Annie, a local LGBT+ activist, told the protest, “From Stonewall to the present day, Pride is a protest, Pride is a riot, Pride is a chance to show anger at the attacks on us and anger at oppression that still exists.
It is a chance to go and fight for a different world—for a truly liberated society.”
That’s the message we have to take out of Pride—and try to build a militant movement.
Bigots leaflet schools
Bigots are trying to spread the campaign against LGBT+ inclusive relationship and sex education (RSE) to east London.
They leafleted a school in Newham last week. The leaflet claimed that LGBT+ lessons “pervert the course of natural child development” and promote homosexuality to children.
Newham NEU education union passed a motion defending RSE last week.
There should be for LGBT+ inclusive RSE in all schools—and parents should not have the right to withdraw their children.
As Michael Dance, an NEU LGBT+ national committee member, said, “We have to drive those people back.”