Shame on Pride for trying to ban UKIP

George Harrison

Topics Politics

Until last week, the criterion for being proud of your sexuality was as follows: be proud of your sexuality. Now it seems that Pride London, the organisation behind last weekend’s LGBT march in central London, is keen to enforce a further requirement: you must not be a UKIP supporter.

Following a complaint from some activists that it wouldn’t be appropriate for the UKIP LGBT wing to join the parade, organisers decided to forbid Kippers from attending due to ‘safety reasons’ – a key weapon in the censor’s arsenal today. The source of these safety concerns remained unclear, and a small bunch of UKIP supporters defied the ban and turned up anyway, complete with banners stating ‘Some gays are UKIP – get over it!’. Needless to say, the out-and-proud Kippers did nothing to jeopardise the safety of any of their fellow marchers.

So why was UKIP excluded? Can Eurosceptics not be upstanding members of the LGBT community? Was it because you can’t be in favour of a small state and be proud of being gay? There is nothing to suggest that either UKIP, or its supporters, are against gay rights. Farage and Co aren’t even opposed to gay marriage anymore, while the few nutjobs who condemn homosexuals have been forced to leave UKIP. So as a supporter of equality for those of any sexuality, and a UKIP sympathiser, I was perplexed by Pride London’s attempt to ostracise LGBT members of a perfectly legitimate political party.

It is almost as if Pride London assumes that left-wingers, trade unionists and social-justice warriors make good gays and nasty Eurosceptics, or those on the perceived political right, make bad gays. In many ways, it is impressive that the left has managed to turn homosexuality into its property. But in reality, being gay doesn’t make you left-wing. It is damaging even to try to create this stifling political consensus around sexuality, and it is alarming that so many people tolerated Pride London’s intolerance, especially given the non-conformist history of the gay-rights movement.

When an event that receives funding from the mayor of London attempts to exclude supporters of LGBT rights because they voted for the ‘wrong’ political party, serious questions must be asked of the organisers’ motivations. Pride has long been a politicised affair, hence the LGBT wings of other political parties were in attendance at the weekend, as they have been in previous years. To attempt to exclude UKIP from Pride sets an alarming precedent, and sends an unpleasant message to the LGBT members of UKIP: ‘You have no right to be openly proud of your sexuality.’ Surely, by insinuating that you can’t be proud of being gay while supporting UKIP, Pride London has proved itself as much of a threat to the rights of LGBT Kippers as the few moronic homophobes within UKIP that give the party such a bad name.

It is ironic that Pride is becoming as intolerant as those it originally set out to defy. Where’s the pride in that?

George Harrison is a student at the London School of Economics.

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Topics Politics


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