London Pride ‘failed to grasp the importance of diversity’, report claims

Bi and trans people report being insulted and made to feel unwelcome at the event, which 'did not reflect the city's diverse LGBT+ community'.

The organisers of London Pride failed to ensure the event in July reflected the diversity of the capital’s LGBT+ community, a damning new report has said.

“The current Pride organisers have failed to grasp the importance of diversity,” the Community Advisory Board said, “nor of the intersectionalities that many LGBT+ people experience around race, gender, age, disability, and even their sexual orientation and identity”

The report goes on to list a number of “failings” by the organisers, particularly in relation to people from black and ethnic minority backgrounds, noting that the relationship between the Pride Board and UK Black Pride broke down completely before the event.

The report also criticised Pride’s #LoveHappensHere marketing campaign, saying it found posters to be “normative, cis, and white and erasing of BAME people, bi people, and trans people for whom there was no visibility.”

The report appears to chime with the experiences of some bi and trans people who attended the event.

Journalist Jem Collins wrote in iNews that biphobia made her feel excluded. She said:

“Once again, both on the parade and later in the surrounding pubs and clubs it felt like all eyes were on me for invading an LGBT safe space, despite the fact this space should be just as much mine as anyone else’s. Even if I got as far as explaining my sexuality, it felt like I simply wasn’t gay enough to be there.”

Meanwhile, writer Shon Faye tweeted that several women made transphobic comments to her at the event. She said:

“I learned that I can now expect to be told I look beautiful before I am called a man. A drunk cis woman called me over to her and told me I looked beautiful then said ‘you sure had me fooled’ – disgusting…

“Another cis woman asked my name then asked “what’s your real name on your birth certificate”

To better reflect diversity within the LGBT+ community, the report advised organisers make bi people the central focus of the Pride Parade next year, saying:

“Going forward, it may be appropriate that each year, one of the more marginalised sections of London’s LGBT communities – for example, BAME, bi, trans, and intersex people – should, on rotation, be given pride of the place in the Parade.”

It also called for “full involvement and integration of BAME LGBT+ people”.

CAB Chair, Adrian Hyyrylainen-Trett said the board felt there had been “significant disquiet across the LGBT+ communities, around Pride’s corporate nature, lack of inclusion, [and] bad handling of sensitive intersectionality issues” and sought to reflect this.

CAB Deputy Chair, Edward Lord OBE, added:

“This has not been an easy report to write. The CAB wants Pride to succeed, and we pay tribute to the LLCP Board for the growth of the event over the last five years and for the positive profile that it has generated for LGBT+ people in London and beyond. We regret however that this has been at the cost of the more marginalised members of our communities, those who are already so often erased or ignored.”

Pride released a statement in response to the report, claiming parts of it were inaccurate. A spokesman said:

“We deliberately gather feedback from many sources, including our volunteers and the wider community through open meetings, surveys and online reporting. We do not believe the CAB report reflects the majority view nor takes in to account these other sources of data, it is also inaccurate in many places which is disrespectful to the many volunteers that work hard to deliver the event. Their report was not shared with us in advance and therefore we were not able to correct these inaccuracies. We will be looking at each of the points they raise and we have invited them to meet with us. Unfortunately the CAB has suffered from some long standing vacancies (such as a women’s rep), which has adversely affected its ability to provide us with consistently strong and balanced guidance.”

Charlotte England is a freelance journalist. Follow her on Twitter.

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