Pride Not Profit Activists Claim Harassment by Parade Officials
David Henry of the UK's national LGBT youth organisation, the Queer Youth Network has spoken out about what he calls “a disgraceful plot to undermine free speech” and accused organisers of an “ongoing attempt to silence public criticism” of the event which is estimated to bring in over £22 Million of profit to Manchester each year. “they are acting like crazed control freaks, the city council don't want us to raise awareness around several major concerns they would rather ignore, collectively this year's sponsors pretty much own all the gay media and local media” he added.
Despite being an official entry the group had their banners checked no less than three times whilst other groups remained unchecked according to video footage. Later on in the pride parade, outside Manchester Town Hall, several parade participants unveiled more banned signs and banners to the dismay of organisers including a giant pink “Pride Not Profit” banner and another which read “Save the Gay Centre”, a banner that earlier in the week was unveiled at an “ambush” during a photo call at the official event launch in the same location.
Pauline Ellis, a teacher and activist with the gay rights group OutRage! described how she saw the group pounced upon by a “rude and furious” Manchester Pride festival director Jackie Crozier who demanded one girl hand over a placard which read “Pride Not Profit” Alan Bailey of the National Union of Students LGBT Campaign told a number of journalists immediately after the failed attempt by festival stewards to seize that several student groups had earlier contacted Manchester Pride to ask “how political” banners and signs could be and were given a vague answer which requested nothing that is “against the spirit of pride”.
Tomboi of Trans Youth, an organisation that supports transgendered young people reported several young people had been targeted because of recent comments they had made in the news in regards to the increasing commercialisation of gay pride. Last year Tomboi and other representatives of voluntary organisations appeared on local TV news station Channel M boycotting the “Big Weekend” party in the fenced-off gay village after an increase in stall fees and wristbands. Channel M is owned by the Guardian Media Group and is a sponsor of Manchester Pride.
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Video: Protesters Invade Manchester Pride Balloon Launch
Video: Queer Youth Network declare “Pride is a Protest”
Pride is a Protest
(their excuse being that it could incite people to commit violent acts! -ie against gay-bashers- oh, and that some people might be offended by the word "queer" -despite it appearing on many other banners in the area).
we were also told that we couldn't display a placard saying 'queers against capitalism'
("you can't be anti-capitalist at pride" the charming self-confessed-gay-and-proud policeman told me - we had to explain to him that we were anti-capitalist 365 days/year, and that behaviour like his would make us more likely to be anti-police too)
heartily sick of the constant stream of police (and prison officer) recruitment campaigns in the gay press. some of us in london have been talking about this, and the increasing co-option of lgbt forums/groups by the cops, and about what's wrong with calling for more legislation against hate crimes...
fed up queer
I couldn't attend manchester pride this year, but last year, I took these photos of the small anti- commercial pride protest 'too poor to be gay'. Well exactly! I guess this trend will continue.
I've photographed the Manchester 'main parade' events, for a few years now. I can use my eyes as well as the next chap, and can see the rampant commercialism, with the company logos all over the place.
So much on the parade is either public services, showing how right-on they are, [police, army, navy, probation, HM Customs ..... for crying out loud!!!!!!] and the rest is commercial clubs and bars ...... still a spectacle though.
Although, I've never really fancied the fenced-in wristband gig after the parade. I think they might well squeeze your wallet a little further, with Glastonbury and the like, giving them some encouragement :-(
These are of course small beginnings, but hope many more will see how this has all been hijacked by authorities and business seeing it as a money making exercise, over a celebration of peoples 'rights' and inclusion it should be. This is of course true of most events, festivals, and gigs all over the country. All are seen as 'business opportunities', inevitably loosing a lot of the sparkle that made them popular in the first place.
When do we say enough is enough?
I wish all well in trying to contribute to oppose this trend.