LGBT* in UKIP Gatecrashes Pride

800px-Pride_in_London_2013_-_211Pride in London is courting controversy once again, by allowing UKIP to march in the Parade that was held in the West End on Saturday.

UKIP, a far-right political party whose members have been outspoken in their racism and homophobia, had their application to march in the parade controversially turned down by the Pride in London committee following an outcry by the LGBT community. The committee insisted the decision was not made on political grounds but in the name of safety.

In December, Kerry Smith, standing for UKIP South Basildon and East Thurrock resigned from his candidacy after calling gay people ‘fucking disgusting old poofters’. In February the group UKIP Christian Soldiers, authorised by UKIP HQ circulated leaflets that claimed educating school children on LGBT issues was ‘sexual grooming’.

Approximately 15 LGBT* in UKIP activists – who had not paid the fee required to take part in the parade, nor signed up to abide by Pride in London’s code of conduct – crashed the parade. In a symbolic move that was lost on no one, the overwhelmingly white and male LGBT* in UKIP members pushed past the African LGBTI group Out and Proud Diamond to march before them. LGBT* in UKIP had previously claimed they ‘didn’t want to be disruptive’.

Pride in London’s rules state that “Individuals and spectators cannot join the Parade. Only registered groups are allowed”. Despite this, and knowing UKIP planned to gatecrash in advance,  no action was taken by Pride Stewards to remove them from the parade.

Jacq Applebee, bisexual activist and founding member of Bis of Colour wrote in a public post on Tumblr,

“I would never have attended Pride if I had known a hate group would be in the march, that wants to see people like me dead. I feel as if London LGBT Pride has once again, screwed over People of Colour, in allowing this entire debacle to happen. There were hundreds of stewards and police along the parade route; why did they do nothing when this incident occurred? Because they don’t care about us.

“Many small charities had to pay to be part of the parade, but UKIP got in for free by shoving black people out of the way”.

Following the LGBT campaigner Peter Tatchell tweeted

A Pride attendee who did not want to be named told Biscuit, “The decision to let UKIP march basically means that Pride are putting the feelings of a bunch of middle class white men over the safety of queer people of colour. It just reinforces the idea that [LGBT pride] is for gay men and no one else.

“Working class immigrants aren’t as likely as political parties to want to sponsor future events”.

 

Pride in London did not respond to Biscuit’s request for comment.

Image “Pride in London 2013” by Tom Morris. Shared under CC BY 3.0. Via Wikimedia Commons.

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Libby Baxter-Williams

Libby is a 30-something Londoner, who spends more time reading picture books than is seemly. She became a bi activist entirely by accident, but now she can't imagine living any other way. In the event of an emergency, she'll have a large gin and tonic, thanks.
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