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New Doncaster mayor grilled over Pride funding cut

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  1. I had a good laugh reading about this new mayor’s incompetency. What a complete idiot, and when he couldn’t come up with half-way decent answers, threw his dummy out of the pram and walked out of the interview. We’ll see how long he lasts at the job if he can’t handle a few simple questions on morning radio.

  2. Even though I’m gay, I support the ideals this mayor holds. It is true that far too much tax-payer’s money is spent on things the vast majority of tax-payers get no benefit from. Nearly all have no need for translated documents and these “politically correct” jobs like diversity officers. In just the same way, most have no need for a gay pride event.

    Though, he should recognise that unlike the other issues highlighted, the gay pride event does produce revenue, and he most certainly should have looked at the figures before deciding to cut the funding.

  3. Even though I’m gay, I support the ideals this mayor holds. It is true that far too much tax-payer’s money is spent on things the vast majority of tax-payers get no benefit from. Nearly all have no need for translated documents and these “politically correct” jobs like diversity officers. In just the same way, most have no need for a gay pride event.

    Though, he should recognise that unlike the other issues highlighted, the gay pride event does produce revenue, and he most certainly should have looked at the figures before deciding to cut the funding.

    Joni.

  4. @ Joni – if funding is cut for all minorities: non-english speaking, gays, etc, then that adds up to a lot of people who would suffer from these funding cuts. Incidentally, I hope you listened to the full interview (link provided at bottom of this page), the mayor gives a truly first class display of total incompetency. No wonder he becomes flustered in the interview, he doesn’t have a clue!

  5. Simon Murphy 10 Jun 2009, 3:44pm

    Joni – would you also agree that taxpayers get no benefit from council spending on things like Christmas lights? That is equally frivolous and wasteful; even though like Pride, Christmas produces revenue for the entire town irrespective of whether they are christian or not. Pride generates revenue for the entire town irrespective of whether they are gay or not.

    I am atheist. I don’t celebrate christmas. However I have no issue with council spending on it as it is good for everyone. So is Pride.

    Do you think this mayor will apply equal standards to christmas funding and pride funding or is he just a facist?

  6. Joni, you seem to forget the we gay people are tax payers like the rest. As a single gay man, like straight single people, I have no need for schools and social services for example. That doesn’t me I want to have them cut. You argument is about as idiotic as the mayor.

    This article was a good laugh, though.

  7. This guy is a retired POLITICS [and Religion] TEACHER … if he’s as inept as this report suggests, thank God he’s not teaching any more. Surely he knows the importance of doing the necessary homework first BEFORE opening mouth!!!!!!!

  8. He says “The English Democrats believe that public money should not be spent on parades that promote one section of society.” How much do people bet he is going to find money for a St George Day celebration?

  9. there’s no way 8000 people come to donny for gay pride ! even Manchester exaggerates their attendances, I’m gay and also say gay /lesbians doesn’t have to parade their sexuality at council tax payers expense (yes i know us gays pay council tax ),but i prefer mine to go to something useful

  10. To the major after this interview we can say “Owned” and to the people who voted for him we can chant “Fail”

  11. @tony, joni, et al. LGBT Pride has an economic benefit to any town hosting them, but more importantly the “Pride” ethos is to challenge the dominant heterosexism that we are daily bombarded with. I get fed up of being expected to put up and shut up, which is effectively what you are suggesting.

    I think we get far too few positive images of LGBT sexuality,as well as too many images of heterosexism on a daily basis especially in the media, and LGBT Pride goes some small way to redressing that imbalance. Like the “a day in hand” campaign, we must challenge your assumption that heterosexual society is in any way better, and that we must kow tow to it, remain invisible and lead isolated lives.

    The more LGBT people who visibly and publibly claim their sexuality, the more people come to see that LGBT people are their relatives, friends and neighbours, then the constituency of bigots like this mayor is reduced.

    By trying to blend in and become invisible, you hand ammunition on two fronts to bigots like this: you acknowledge some sort of secretive aspect of sexuality and become vulnerable to being “outed”, but also you make LGBT citizens second class and inferior to our heterosexual counterparts. In effect, you internalise societies homophobia. You only need to look at the suicide list for 2008 to see where that leads!

  12. Simon Murphy 10 Jun 2009, 6:58pm

    No 9: Tony: You say:

    “I’m gay and also say gay /lesbians doesn’t have to parade their sexuality at council tax payers expense”

    So you are also opposed to English people not parading their Englishness (St George’s Day celebrations) at council tax payers expense.

    Are you also opposed to christian people not parading their christian beliefs (christmas decorations etc) at council tax payers expense?

    If not then why the double standard. Gay people are taxpayers and if they want to celebrate Pride then they are just as entitled to receive council funding as Christian or English taxpayers.

  13. I am also gay, and I also support Joni’s view. I think part of the problem is that public funding ought to be spent on essential services like education, policing and the environmental services. I don’t agree with Matt above that we are bombarded with heterosexism, and even if we were, to me it would be a case of ‘water off a duck’s back’. Gay people are no longer marginalised, and therefore in no need of public money to celebrate who we are. We are a strong enough community to do this without public funds.

  14. The question was an economic one: does the parade bring in more money to the community that it costs to subsidise it? Sometimes you have to spend money to make money. If you’re going to make an economic argument, like the mayor, you ought to have at least some clue what the bottom line would be. It seems like the mayor was couching his homophobia in economic terms, but hadn’t really thought through the obvious question. If the mayor of Doncaster doesn’t want LGBT people to come to Doncaster and spend their money there, he should just come out and say it.

    I’m not going to label the LGBT people who side with the mayor as “self-loathing.” I’m just going to give a little personal history. I started going to pride parades more than 20 years ago. At first, I cringed at the outrageous drag queens who weren’t at all representative of my lifestyle. It took me quite a while to realize that the straight spectators really enjoyed the drag queens and other outrageous parade participants, and on the whole, they were laughing with them – not at them. They knew that there were plenty of gay bankers, attorney, school teachers who were just ordinary people. But who wants to watch people in suits and ties somberly parading by! The more outrageous and silly, the better they liked it. I finally had to face it: the straight spectators were open-minded and having fun, and I was the uptight, judgmental one.

    So chill out, fellow LGBT people. Most straight people are more tolerant and relaxed than you may think. And they’re smart enough to make a distinction between the twink in the leather jock strap and the drag queen in the tiara and feather boa and their local gay clergyman.

  15. Ian M Laughlin 10 Jun 2009, 8:57pm

    Delightful to see that the Englischer Pluto-krauts are beginning to falter as a political force the moment their hapless representative is elected. After the excellent interview by BBC Radio Sheffield, Peter Davies has begun withdrawing from other interviews on the spurious grounds of being “busy”. From a mayor already dead in the water! The British National Party will be experiencing similar problems as they run up against human rights rulings when they try implementing their ill-considered policies.

  16. Fair dos… the guy was elected on an austerity ticket, and heaven knows we’re going to need a lot of austerity to recover from the Mother and Father of all messes the economy is in. And if the Pink News article the other day is true, he’s putting his money where his mouth is with a personal £32K cut in his own pay.

    This business of calculating ROI to the council is, in reality, impossible. And at the end of the day, it’s not the point of a council investment in a Gay Pride march.

    However, the it does look like the newly elected Mayor is steep on the learning curve in acquiring PR skill. To spend your first week in office defending allegations of prejudice and competence is hardly an auspicious start.

  17. Sister Mary Clarence 10 Jun 2009, 10:04pm

    He’s a f*cking space cadet and my money’s on him not going the full term.

  18. Tiglathpileser 11 Jun 2009, 7:47am

    And what would your response be if he funded a Christian Mardi Gras?

  19. Sister Mary Clarence 11 Jun 2009, 10:20am

    As I understand it they do already provide funding for a Young Men’s Christian Association.

  20. To those who say ‘we dont need gay pride’. Think about others, for example, young people who are isolated maybe even bullied – the fact their town/city even has a pride is a message that says you are worthy. For many of us gays we live miles from home, why? I feel like I didn’t fit in, would never be able to be myself etc If my town had had a Pride would I feel differently, I’ll never know.

  21. @ Charlene, I totally agree with you. Just because some funding towards gay issues doesn’t affect my own life directly, doesn’t mean it has no bearing on other gay peoples’ lives.

    I think some gay people need to realise, they are not the only gay people out there. We all have different needs, different support structures that require funding. Gay prides might not change everyone’s opinion of us, but they make a very important statement that we’re here to stay.

    I agree that we have come a long way in terms of gaining legal & civil rights over the past 20 or so year, but also note that there is still a long way to go. We still cannot fully marry, there are still witch-hunts conducted by certain tabloids waged against gay couples who also happen to be foster parents, and I still see plenty of straight people perfectly able to enjoy a snog in busy town centres, when gay couples who do the same, in the same places are often given verbal or physical abuse.

    We’ve come a long way, but there is still a long way to go.

  22. Monkeychops 11 Jun 2009, 2:04pm

    Gay Pride, as it is, brings very little to the gay movement. It’s too highly sexualised (men in rubber pants throwing vibrators into the crowds, people in S&M gear, Muscle Marys on parade…) and that turns people off. More people seem to go to look at the freak show than anything else – it’s just acting how people expect us to and then they say “oh, yeah, see, I was right”. And, as has been pointed out somewhere, it doesn’t represent all gay people. I personally feel excluded from it as I don’t like that kind of behaviour. A straight-forward parade in a civilised manner would do the trick. A bit more Notting Hill carnival style where EVERYONE (not just gays) can join in. It’s so narrowly-focused on stereotypes. Bands, information stands – not all this highly-provocative stuff that makes us look so insecure and, well, sub-human.

    Maybe it’s time to look at a different kind of “pride” – a more inclusive one, where gays, straights and their children could go. I wouldn’t want my 7 year old kid seeing men in studded posing pouches bending over and pretending to stick cucumbers up their arses on a giant pink float. Would you?

  23. Pumpkin Pie 11 Jun 2009, 4:02pm

    Monkeychops, you’re excluded because you’re a total twat. I’ve never been to a pride march, but I always thought straight people were welcome to join in. The only people they don’t like are homophobes and transphobes. That’s why you’d never be welcome.

    My sentiments on this issue are pretty much what Charlene and George said.

  24. Sister Mary Clarence 11 Jun 2009, 10:33pm

    “I personally feel excluded from it ….”

    Get yourself down that gym then monkey and you can get a half decent pair of rubber shorts on line for about 30 quid.

    You’ll fit right in, its a broad church

  25. Monkeychops 11 Jun 2009, 10:49pm

    Pumpkin Pie – slinging insults is just making you look insecure again. I mean, do you really expect me to have respect for that comment? Why don’y you think your responses through a little better before you type, then I might listen. If you’ve never been to a pride, maybe you should (I have, in 5 countries and they are all the same). Straight people are welcome as it’s a public event, but many people I know don’t want to go because it’s such a tasteless, crass event. And they get abuse when they spurn the advances of gay guys. Doesn’t seem fair when they’ve come to show support does it? Hence these straights don’t feel included as there is nothing for them to share in. After all, the whole thing is just about sex, and as they don’t want to have sex with their own gender, why would they go? Why would they want to go and watch people simulating sex at 2’o’clock in the afternoon? Seems like people defend Gay Pride the way it is simply because they know there is no alternative event for them. As someone who feels respected, accepted and integrated into mainstream society, I don’t feel the need to confine myself to an event that doesn’t represent me.

    I’d rather go to Nottingh Hill and celebrate diversity thanks. Talented musicians, culture, great food, fully-inclusive atmosphere (even with the risk of getting shot). What talent is on display at pride? Nothing that is specifically gay.

    You can keep the rubber pants Sister Mary Clarence, I haven’t reached the age of incontinence yet.

  26. Sister Mary Clarence 12 Jun 2009, 3:22pm

    “Straight people are welcome as it’s a public event, but many people I know don’t want to go because it’s such a tasteless, crass event. And they get abuse when they spurn the advances of gay guys. Doesn’t seem fair when they’ve come to show support does it? Hence these straights don’t feel included as there is nothing for them to share in.”

    Monkey – which five countries are these then? Maybe they should model themselves more on the UK setup (or setups, as there have been loads over the years). Maybe you should come along as well and it might dispel a few of the very of the strange ideas you have about what goes on.

    Pride is all about celebrating our culture, just like Mardi Gras in Rio for example. My neighbour is from San Paulo, but she doesn’t leave the house in the morning off to work in a sequined body sock with ostrich feather sticking out of her arse (well, not every morning anyway). If a few cute boys walk around not wearing very much, flaunting the fact that they are fit, as well and good mate, what’s the problem?

    As for the straights getting hit on by a few gays. It’s a compliment. No different from me getting hit on (frequently) when I go to a straight club. You explain the situation and move on. Not everyone gay or straight takes no for an answer immediately and thinks they can change you, but I have to deal with it when I go out somewhere straight, so why can’t straight people learn to do the same in a gay place.

    I have plenty of straight friends that go. None of then has even come back and complained about any of the stuff you’re whining about. Ever!

  27. Sister Mary Clarence 12 Jun 2009, 3:24pm

    oh, and “…. bit more Notting Hill carnival style ….”

    You might want to compare the crime stats ….

  28. My question is why should a council fund any minority? Unless it’s a public health, safety or educational matter, if these people want it, they should raise the cash themselves. That goes for gay pride, religions, societies and everyone. Sorry, but I for one would much rather my council tax be spent on the streets being policed than a bunch of mincers blowing fucking whistles in my face.

  29. Monkeychops 15 Jun 2009, 10:37am

    Sister Mary Clarence – I’ve been to Pride in the UK (London), Estonia (Tallinn), France (Lyon, Marseille), Belgium (Brussels) and Germany (Cologne). Bar Estonia, these are all wetstern states with good gay rights records, but the same things happen at each one. Police by public toilets to stop guys shagging in them (to counter incidents from previous years). Straight guys will politely decline advances from gay men more often than not in my experience, but it’s the persistence that irritates them. They just won’t take no for an answer. One friend (who is straight, but considerably more sympathetic to the gay cause than me), almost hit one bloke who turned on him, shouting “why are you here then if you’re not gay? You must be a bit gay if you’ve come here, just admit it”. And it’s not uncommon. In France, one rather sleazy drag queen said to me “Oh don’t we know each other, maybe it was in the bushes one time, ha ha”. Apparently, that was meant to make me laugh. Would you just say that to someone in the street at any other time? I hope not, it’s just sleazy.

    Wear all the feathers and sequins you want, that’s what costumes are for. A disguise is a disguise, but it’s how you behave wearing it that draws praise or criticism. Wear speedos when swimming, fine. Wear them on a public platform covered in baby oil, gyrating sexually in front of the crowd and people will find it crass. The bit I really hate is this overdose of sexual provocation. The gay press are constantly bemoaning the fact that everyone assumes we are obsessed with sex. Is it any wonder when THE annual event for gay people is based on that? The muscle Marys launching dildos and condoms from floats and jiggling their budgie smugglers around to pathetically titilate an audience – the majority of whom have come for exactly that. There are stalls (and people) handing out free condoms and lube – where else do you ever see that? Why is it even necessary? Gay organisations have cottoned-on to how irresponsible gay men are and so they feel the need to treat them like infants in this nanny-state fashion so the wider community doesn’t have to suffer from the diseases they could spread through unprotected promiscuous sex (remember, despite all the education we have had, we are still right up there with the highest rate of new HIV-cases – why is this still happening?). Men in their sixties dressed as if they were 18 with no shame for what is hanging out, the superficial fashionists with matching man-bag and aviators. Add to that the S&M and fetish overtones (I’ve seen guys on leads licking the boots of guys next to them) and you’ve got just what our critics want – a sex-orientated social group with no sense of responsibility or values common to the remainder of the country. Notting Hill carnival is about culture. Sex is NOT culture and it is PRIVATE – keep it in your own home, it’s not a public event. Culture is to be shared – hence why you get such a wonderful array of food counters, clothing, musical styles and dance at Notting Hill. Have you ever been to carnival on the continent (Maastricht, Cologne and Binche are great ones). It’s inclusive of every social group. Pride is totally adult – it is completely inappropriate for children with all that overt sexualised behaviour going on. Hence, it excludes people. It’s also the first time many youths see the gay world – is that the impression you want them to have? It’s just asking for trouble. If you took away the sex, what would you that was specifically gay to show off at a parade? Little. One could argue music by gay artists, poetry from gay writers, but is that really relevant? Or enough? There is no gay food, no traditional gay dances and no gay alcohol/soft drinks. Culture is what we do not have because the reason we are different from other sectors of society is purely biological – sexual orientation. It is not because we are immigrants from a land with a different way of life and have thus imported our cuisine along with ourselves – we are universal. Gay Jamaicans have the same culture as straight Jamaicans. Gay Brits have the same cultural upbringing as straight Brits. Being gay is about as culturally different as being left-handed. Different, but only marginal. However, how this difference is “celebrated” or politicised is obviously different to other biological variations. It is also condemned very differently, though go back a hundred years and see how sinistrals and the skiffle-handed were suspected of witchcraft.

    As for crime stats, of course Notting Hill has a reputation for people getting shot, but then the communities involved need to take responsibility and do something about it. Most of them are just doing what the gay community does and apportioning blame to discriminating majorities – disaffected black youth who have all been labelled by white society and have resultantly turned to crime. Is that really always the case? Could it also be to do with internal black community issues such as absent fathers (as Diane Abbott and Trevor Phillips keep pointing out)? Who knows, but their problems are different to ours. No-one is saying that the idea of putting on a music and culture parade is a bad idea, it’s great. Putting on an x-rated train of floats as an act of insecure provocation is definitely going to draw negative attention. The reason why I think these things receive such little protest in the UK now is that people just believe in letting live. And they are also scared to criticise for fear of being labelled homophobes, when in actual fact they are protesting about the sexual overtones and not the idea of two men going to bed together. They might not turn up throwing rocks, but get them on their own and ask them for an opinion and you might not get a positive reaction. But is that their fault?

    Maybe you can elaborate on what gay culture is Sister MC? Maybe then I’ll understand your point a bit better, as right now I fail to see just what it is we are meant to be promoting as a positive contribution to our society other than seediness and that we are all (apparently) obsessed with sex. Getting a bit of nooky is great, but why would I feel the need to be an exhibitionist about it? I have no problem with nudity either, naturism is a perfectly legitimate and enjoyable pursuit. But there is a difference between naturism and sex – gay guys don’t seem to get this, which is why you see them in the dunes on naturist beaches lurking about. The naturist community try desperately to be inclusive, but their beaches are becoming more and more at risk of closure because of people having sex in public. Mainly gay men. Unsurprisingly, they have little to say about those whose behaviour is ruining their peace and tranquility and attracting negative attention to something that Victorian-minded Brits are still not comfortable with. How can they advance their movement while gay men are acting so selfsihly and disgustingly on their patch?

    What I would love to see, however, is a huge joint event between all our minorities. I don’t think it’s been highlighted enough that most of our critics are from other minority groups – Muslim, Christian, Jamaican (“murder music”), BNP…..why doesn’t someone suggest it? I would imagine that most gay people would be furious about having to share the stage with anyone else, but maybe we should just be brave and face the challenge head-on? Otherwise more and more will retreat into these social ghettos and the discrimination will just continue. It is up to us to sort and the solutions are increidbly simple.

  30. Nothing wrong with celebrating sexiness Monkey. If you don’t like it, don’t join in. It’s no different from the LoveParade. What is wrong with celebrating the erotic? Who is harmed? Who is provoked?

    It’s about people having a good time. If you’re offended, well, too bad, I’m afraid.

    Gay pride is partly about empowering gay people to be themselves. A lot of people cannot be themselves, especially from ethnic or religious groups, or from places like Rotherham and Barnsley. Here they are showing solidarity, making new friends, being given confidence, perhaps to be happy about who they are in the face of bigotry and hostility.

    I am amazed you focus on a couple of floats of sexy guys – muscle marys, fine by me. London pride at least features a whole lot more than that.

    I’m glad you’re not the organiser – we’d end up with sunday school :-)

  31. PS – Monkey I am impressed; There are only type of people I can think who would go to so many gay pride events: the likes of Peter Tatchell, and of ‘Rev’ Stephen Green.

    I also must say, I have never heard of police monitoring pride toilets. That is a new one.

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