27th July 2012
Anton Johnson of Left Front Art reports on how trade unions and LGBTQ organisations are setting a new agenda for Pride
The TUC LGBT Committee, supported by the Greater London Association of Trade Union Councils, hosted a successful public meeting (16 July) on where next after the debacle of this year’s World Pride in a packed room with over 90 representatives of labour movement bodies and LGBTQ community organisations including Unite, SERTUC LGBT Network, Queer Resistance, REGARD, London LGBT Consortium, Left Front Art Collective, LGBT Labour, OUTRAGE! and UK Black Pride to mention a few.
The meeting was introduced and navigated by Peter Purton (TUC Disability and LGBT Policy Officer) on what the points the meeting should be looking at. The two hours was swiftly taken up with contributions, some very passionate from the floor ranging from wanting an inquest into what had happened to developing what we want for the future. David Sharkey from the SERTUC LGBT Network and Left Front Art made an excellent contribution on the role of youth in the event and how to engage with young LGBTQ people and get them involved.
What was striking about the meeting was that it was LGBTQ activists in Trade Unions and the community deciding on what should happen. The meeting, ably chaired by Maria Exall, was fully open all those who wanted to speak did. The decision on the next steps was agreed by those in attendance. No one body was able to dictate to the meeting and the question of money did not arise to inhibit the discussion or ideas that people threw in – this was incredibly refreshing. The connection to the austerity policies was also made and reference to the TUC national demonstration on 20 October.
The meeting agreed that Pride should be community-led and free, and to get there for next year it was agreed to hold a further meeting that has been set for 5 September where each LGBTQ group and trade union will be asked to send one representative to look further into the details of how we achieve what was agreed. The Pride Board agreed to postpone their AGM till after the 5 September meeting.
The swift action by the TUC LGBT Committee on this matter is to be applauded as it gave the community and trade unions the opportunity to set the agenda for the new Pride before the commercial interests, who so often dominate the LGBTQ scene. As a consequence this excludes those, such as the poor and disabled, who do not fit into the model the commercial interests seek to promote in order to exploit us.
Time and time again the commercial interests have dominated the LGBTQ community, giving out the message that in order to take part in the community you need to have money, wear the right clothes, have the perfect body and be young. So it should be noted that on this occasion the labour movement has been able to give an inclusive voice of all LGBTQ communities the opportunity to set the agenda for future Prides.
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