A few thousand joined the Reclaim Pride protest in central London. It marched from Parliament Square to Hyde Park to return to the radical roots of pride.
The demonstration demanded LGBT+ liberation and for Boris Johnson and his Tory government to stop stalling on LGBT+ rights.
CJ told Socialist Worker that since they became open about their non-binary gender identity in the last year, they haven’t felt a space they can go to.
“That’s why it’s important to be here,” they explained.
“And laws are being blocked, which is taking away our rights and ability to identify legally.”
Eve said, “It’s not enough to just do things at a minor level. We have to show out and be loud, make noise and shout to show we want change quicker.
“Tweeting ‘Love is love’ for a bit during pride month isn’t going to help change my daily reality.”
CJ added, “Tokenism like that shows how we’ve lost pride. It’s a corporate party and a piss up.
“Ticketed events exclude me from something that’s meant to be inclusive, where I have a space to feel safe.
“And it means working class people who can’t afford it are left out. That’s why more Prides like this are so important.”
Organisers called the protest to demand a ban on LGBT+ conversion therapy, reform to the Gender Recognition Act and decriminalisation of LGBT+ people worldwide.
And also to show solidarity for LGBT+ refugees and with Black Lives Matter
Protesters chanted, “Pride is not for profit, keep your hands off it”, “Trans rights now” and “Stonewall was a riot, we will not be quiet.”
A range of union banners from NEU, Unite, UCU and the RMT also joined the march. It’s encouraging to see trade union banners supporting protests.
Charles is in the UCU union and told Socialist Worker he saw his union bloc and joined because “there was a sense of belonging”.
“It’s important my union is at protests to support trans students who are vulnerable,” he explained.
“Unions should take a stand to push universities to do the right things—using a students’ pronouns and chosen names, for instance.”
On the demonstration placards read, “No pride for some of us without liberation for all of us” and “Gay liberation not rainbow capitalism”.
Will came to the protest to fight for trans rights. “We have to fight for each other. Trans women like Sylvia Rivera and Marsha P Johnson started the movement.”
“Now we have to be out for trans rights. Our strength is in solidarity” they added.
Melissa told Socialist Worker that people say things are “better” for LGBT+ people because there’s more visibility. But there is still work to do and trans and black people continue to be repressed.
Many of the signs on the march pointed to ending the brutal practice of LGBT+ conversion therapy which Melissa pointed out is not illegal.
Along with restrictions on puberty blockers, she said that it is clear that, “If you don’t conform to the capitalist way of doing things you’re even more marginalised.”
Melissa explained that real liberation means “more fluidity” for people’s sexuality and gender expression”.
The protest’s attempt to take Pride back to its radical roots is an important sign that people want to fight back against the attacks on LGBT+ people.
Viktor Orban’s right wing government is trying to push through laws that would limit discussion of homosexuality and transgender issues in schools.
A law passed in June also bans showing any content to children that includes anything on homosexuality or gender expression.
Orban is planning to call a national referendum on the anti-LGBT+ law. He wants to ramp up bigotry and support for his attacks ahead of elections next year.
“I’ve heard from a lot of LGBT+ people that are planning to leave the country, and won’t even wait for next year’s elections,” Budapest Pride spokesperson Jojo Majercsik said.
“There will be many others for who the results of the elections will determine whether they stay or leave.”
Resistance to Orban’s oppression will be crucial to push him out.
Tens of thousands could walk out
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