Sunday, 2 September 2012

not so proud

"The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which."
                                                                                George Orwell, Animal Farm 
Pride events are increasingly becoming more complacent than proud. The LGBTQI spectrum is still wide enough for some of us to feel like outsiders when we see the Gays In Ties phenomenon in action: those privileged and entitled chaps who forget that there are other letters than G, hobnobbing with the Establishment, speaking for us without a mandate, ignoring us. Getting it wrong.

Thus we had Toiletgate at London Pride 2008, when trans women were refused access to the womens' loos, and one was assaulted in the mens' toilets in consequence.

And then Priscillagate at London Pride in 2009, when prospective trans participants were told that they would be allocated a float -at the back of the march -with the theme of Priscilla Queen of the Desert....

And yesterday, Brighton Pride attempted to remove the Queers Against Cuts group from the march. After intervention by Caroline Lucas, the group were 'permitted' to march at the back, in what was effectively a police kettle. While Conservative politicians marched ahead with LGBTorys, accompanied by police LAGLOs. 

Funny old world. Glad I wasn't there. Though if I had been, I'd have been at the back. In solidarity. Meh.


  1. There were some trans people (without ties) at the No 10 reception in fact. Helen from TMW was there and she got some time with Cameron. I think Christine Burns went. And Bernard and Terry of GIRES.

    But your point is generally well made. The tension comes from trying to negotiate that difficult space between being part of some movement which starts with the words LGB...when these letters do not define us, and then suffering from as much misunderstanding from some of the leaders of that community as we get from anyone else (especially as they are assimilated by the Borg).

    Versus wanting to be part of that world because (a) At least it exists and is semi organised and (b) We are beaten up by the same people.

    As we both know, this debate has been going on for years...

  2. It's interesting seeing the LGB establishment reaching out to our nascent loose association of transgender people here in Oxford. Thus far the association has been constructive, but time will tell if the Sonewall (Or should that be Sonewa?) effect creeps in.

    I saw a comment yesterday that Queers Against Cuts and the Walthamstow anti-fascists were both kettled on the same day, yet the EDL were given a police escort. Strange place we live in, to be sure.

  3. Yup, Deb.

    I was keeping it simple, Jo - yes, I knew about Helen and Christine going, and their work is good and admirable; but... that pic is so homogenous, isn't it? And labelled as 'gay pride' by the PM's people... irresistible really, for a spot of Sunday polemics.

    I'm also aware of the probs of sniping from the sidelines, which is what I'm doing here. Hey ho. It was a post I thought needed writing, even so...

  4. Good morning, Jenny! -your post sneaked in as I was replying to Jo. Yes, our local LGBT network is pretty good, too. Hands across the ocean, and all that!

  5. Indeed Dru. I share your feelings. I feel rather 'Killed in Action' after a few years of activism so am fairly on the sidelines too now.

    It is homogenous. The paradigm here is clear, and the picture tells the story. If you want to be taken seriously, you must be like us. We will open the doors of our club to you a little - but we certainly aren't changing the House Rules (or the dress code).

    The strategy of Stonewall et al has always been defended by apologists as one of subtle subversion. You can't change the rules of the club until they let you join it. So do what you have to to get admitted. And, yes, it can work. BUT it takes a strong soul to reject the blandishments and perks of club membership once in. The danger is, always will be, that you will (if one can still say this) 'go native'.