“Protest: When the Dust Has Settled”

Pride month is as we have just witnessed, takes places each year in the month of June. The annual celebration kicks off international marches and events, locally, nationally and internationally. There was July Pride on the 1st of July, New York City Pride on the 25th of June and not forgetting the iconic Dyke March that took place the day before. Hailed as the LGBTQ capital of the UK, there is Brighton and Hove Pride, on the 5th of August, and not least forgetting UK Black Pride, which is “the world’s largest celebration for African, Asian, Middle Eastern, Latin American and Caribbean-heritage LGBTQI+ people” (1) and is celebrated on the 4th of August. Whilst each march sees the community come together in celebration and solidarity, one must not forget that “Pride is still a protest”. (2)

No better is this understood, than when marching in the recent Pride in London and seeing placards on the side-lines from fundamentalist Christians, stating that the LGBTQIA+ community should repent for their sins. This was in stark contrast to the purpose of this year’s pride march, themed ‘Never March Alone: Championing Trans Allyship’. From seeing the battle between division and hate and one of love and solidarity, it was a reminder to all of us, of the origins of Pride, which started off as a march and not a parade. In its first iteration it was called the Christopher Street Liberation March, marking a year after the 1969 Stonewall Uprising in New York. These uprisings, saw community-led violent rebellions, in response to the consistent and targeted harassment by the police. This year’s London Pride, as with the theme, saw more placards highlighting trans rights, given the current social and political climate, amid growing anti-trans rhetoric. We also saw the environmental activist group Just Stop Oil, who as their name indicates, are against the production of new fossil fuels and licensing. Protestors from the group blocked the road in front of a Coca-Cola truck, which halted the parade, and were later arrested by the police.

According to the LGBT members of the group, and let us not forget, that you can be from various communities and have differing views and values, the reasons behind their protest, was due to pride’s acceptance of sponsorship from “high-polluting industries.” (3) Further they said:

“These partnerships embarrass the LGBTQ+ community at a time when much of the cultural world is rejecting ties to these toxic industries.” “LGBTQ+ people are “suffering first” in the “accelerating social breakdown” caused by the climate crisis, they added. “Pride was born from protest.” (4)

And so protest is the theme of this month’s article. 

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