Britain’s Largest LGBTQ Organization Isn’t Supporting London Pride, and Here’s Why
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The organization, Stonewall, was founded in 1989 by a small group of people who had been active in the struggle against Section 28 of the Local Government Act, an offensive piece of legislation designed to prevent the so-called “‘promotion’ of homosexuality in schools.”
In addition to stigmatizing lesbian, gay and bi people, it galvanized the LGBT community. And afterwards, Stonewall established itself as a professional lobbying group set on preventing similar attacks on LGBTQ people from ever occurring again.
As such, Stonewall has come up against one of the biggest celebrations of queer equality in the UK: London Pride.
Earlier this year, Stonewall made headlines for quitting Pride in London, while accusing organizers of failing to represent non-white communities. Stonewall said it would instead extend support to UK Black Pride, an event for LGBT minority ethnic people that also takes place every year in England‘s capital.
Stonewall’s decision came after Pride’s organizers rejected concerns raised by its own advisory board last year that it was not inclusive enough for minority ethnic communities. Nevertheless, the annual Pride parade (which attracted more than 26,000 people last year), is due to take place on July 7 of this year.
A Stonewall spokeswoman said, “We know this is an event that’s important to many in our communities and very much hope to attend in future years. However last year, Pride in London’s community advisory board again raised concerns about the lack of diversity and inclusion at Pride in London — particularly of black and minority ethnic communities.”
“Pride in London rejected those concerns from the community in the strongest terms and, as yet, have failed to make any public acknowledgement that they may need to make significant changes if Pride in London is to be an event for everyone.”
London Pride responded to Stonewall’s decision earlier this year when a Pride spokesman said, “We will always welcome Stonewall to march with Pride in the parade, and we hope to welcome their team at many community-driven events that will take place this year, during the Pride festival.”
The spokesman continued, “Embracing diversity in all its forms, and supporting organizations like UK Black Pride, is absolutely at the heart of our mission as a team. We are working closely with the community advisory board and are dedicated to making Pride a success for all our communities — from those who have never been involved, to those who come back year on year, enabling them to celebrate, protest and march for equality.”
But the plot thickens. More recently, UK Pride Organizers Network and European Pride Organizers Association slammed the LGBTQ rights charity’s recent conduct in a damning new report that questioned the group’s effectiveness as a community leader. These groups also demanded an apology from Stonewall’s chief executive Ruth Hunt.
The UK Pride Organizers Network had already criticized the LGBTQ+ rights charity in May for its deal with Primark, an Irish clothing company whose Pride-branded merchandise was sold in selected European and U.S. stores despite being made in Myanmar, a country with anti-LGBTQ laws.
The aforementioned report also suggested that Stonewall should “agree that publicly criticizing a Pride is not in keeping with the values of our movement,” and that it should agree to a biannual meeting with the UK Pride Organizers Network “to discuss Stonewall’s support for the Pride movement.”