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Comment: East London needs a show of Pride

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  1. Wonderful initiative! This is indeed a cause close to home that gay people can take pride in. Of course, pride alone cannot do much, as some of the haters in East London have deep religious fanaticism behind their homophobia.

    The justice system could play a big part if they could give heavier sentences to Islamic nut-jobs in the area. One cannot get 4 years in prison for Facebook incitement and another 100 pounds for threatening hate materials.

  2. George Broadhead 22 Aug 2011, 5:41pm

    “some of the haters in East London have deep religious fanaticism behind their homophobia.”

    Not only in East London surely. More like worldwide, and the adherents of Islam are especially culpable.

    I am proud to be Islamophobic.

    1. Well done you’ve just said your proud to discriminate against a minority nothing like irony to prove some people can’t remember that not that long ago it was us being discriminate against.

    2. Patrick Lyster-Todd 23 Aug 2011, 1:47pm

      I have to say that this, from someone who claims to be a humanist, is deeply disturbing and something that I encourage all clear thinking lgbt people to reject. I might add that, by definition, a phobia is generally taken as something that is irrational …

  3. Peter Tatchell 22 Aug 2011, 6:48pm

    I suggest that the East London Pride theme is: “Unite against all hate” or “East London United” or “Gays & Muslims united against hate”.

    We want to the event to be inclusive and unifying. Black, Asian, Muslim and Jewish organisations should be invited to participate and to provide speakers for the post-march rally. The LGBT Muslim group, Imaan, should play a central role.

    This rally should explicitly oppose all prejudice and hate, including racism, homophobia, anti-Semitism, misogyny, transphobia and the victimisation of Muslim people.

    We should specifically advise that the EDL and BNP are not welcome and should not attend. If they turn up, we should liaise with the police to remove them. We want nothing to do with their politics of bigotry and division.

    1. This is great. Its almost identical to the East End Gay Pride that was organised earlier this year. It was just a shame that the EDL links were true and Rainbow Hamlets were against the event because it would’ve shown them as being the useless people they actually are!

      1. Sorry, you think it’s a shame that Rainbow Hamlets were opposed to an event which by your own admission had EDL links??

        1. Andy, Rainbow Hamlets (and everyone else) were right to condemn the original EEGP. However, before this came to light to ANYBODY, Rainbow Hamlets were against the idea. And as Jack Gilbert said ‘you cannot go ahead with this event as it may upset the Muslim community’. Now, correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t Rainbow Hamlets a LGBT Community Forum for Tower Hamlets?

  4. Gays & Muslims united against hate sounds great!

    1. David Myers 24 Aug 2011, 8:36am

      I totally agree.

  5. As a friend of one of the people who did attempt to organise an East End Gay Pride march back in the spring, I want to say that the reason this project was abandoned was that the people who had links with the EDL had failed to disclose this to the other organisers. Thus, when what appeared at first to be bewildering malicious rumour, was discovered to be true, the other organisers were just as horrified as everyone else and felt they could not carry on as the community had lost trust in them. There was initially a lot of local support for EEGP – it’s not due to apathy in East London that there hasn’t yet been a Pride march, it was down to the dishonesty of one man who was an EDL member and another who covered for him.

    1. Helen, being one of the organisers of the original EEGP, I agree completely.

      We put our whole heart and energy into organising something Rainbow Hamlets didnt want to organise. One of the most disheartening things for me was the sheer lack of co-operation from the so-called community forum of Rainbow Hamlets. Pure bullies. Acted like children and should be removed from any posts of representing ‘their people’. They don’t even live in Tower Hamlets.

    2. As the screenshots from the time showed, all of the organisers had numerous people with EDL flags as their profile pictures in their Facebook friend lists; there were also many on the attendee list at EEGP. The other organisers were members of various anti-Muslim groups.

      1. Andy, let me correct you. You are wrong. Not all of the organisers had links to EDL. This is what Imaan led you to believe. They didn’t have access to all o the organisers Facebook pages. Contrary to what you believe, some of the organisers were completely unaware of any EDL links within the team. But, as is usual, everybody gets tarred with the same brush.

      2. And Andy, please get your facts right before you start accusing innocent people. As an original organiser of EEGP, I have never knowlingly had any anti- Muslim or direct EDL links!

  6. Peter Tatchell 23 Aug 2011, 12:25am

    On other threads on PN we have often seen people branding all Muslims as homophobic. This is factually wrong and bigoted. For a start Muslims are part of the LGBT community. Plus there are straight Muslims who have spoken out against homophobia. Demonisation and stereotyping is what was done to LGBT people. Let’s not do it to others. Build bridges to our allies in the Muslim community. That’s the way to move forward.

    1. Peter, it appears you’re quick to criticise politicians as being homophobic but you fail mention that the vast majority of Muslims are homophobic and many of them wish for us to be executed. There are indeed some moderate and tolerant Muslims and I think you’re right that we should build bridges with these people as it gives us hope. I respect a lot of your work regarding LGBT issues but it really does bug me when you’re quick to accuse people of homophobia, but on this topic, you really haven’t explicitly said that a large proportion of Muslims are simply intolerant. That is not me saying they are all intolerant, that would be bigoted and it’s not even true. But I do honestly believe most Muslims can’t tolerate me and the growth in homophobia in the East End does greatly concern me. There is lots of homophobia in society from all communities but I see the homophobia in Tower Hamlets, the gay free zones as a step back into the past and that frightens me.

    2. However, if this parade can foster dialogue between Muslims and the LGBT community and it encourages mutual respect then I am all for this. Thing is, can we live in a society where a section of society (some Muslims, Christians, non-religious) believe we’re immoral and should be executed? The LGBT community the last 40 years, especially recently has been more vocal with our condemnation of such vile views. Can we really live side by side with people that take everything in their holy book literally? And what do these holy books say…. Homosexuality is wrong and I should be punished. People with views like this; I can’t be friends with them. I have been through too much pain in my life to accept this again.

      1. Ian Townson 24 Aug 2011, 5:25pm

        Luke: We do need to challenge backward, reactionary views and practices against us whenever they arise and whoever they come from. I have been at this game for about 40 years asserting LGBT pride and challenging nastiness. Even if it is true that the majority of muslims are intolerant then they need to be influenced by more progressive politics not by smacking them in the gob, burning mosques or banning Islam (as some have suggested). The same goes for intolerant christians and jews and any others. Ignorance can only be fought through education which might take a little longer than a parade. I am always optimistic. We’ll get there in the end.

        1. Ian – If you have fighting this war for 40 years you should know education MUST be reinforced by legal measures. That has nothing to do with burning mosques so stop being emotive. Anyway can practise their religion as long as they don’t try to force it on others. Anyone who tries to enforce Sharia Law in the UK should be prosecuted

          1. Ian Townson 25 Aug 2011, 9:54am

            Who is trying to enforce sharia law? Have you fallen for EDL propaganda? One or two loony fanatics, naming one Anjem Choudhury, have staged sharia law stunts and have been told to f….k off in no uncertain terms. Before we rush into repressive legislation let’s be clear about this: each religion has its owon internal courts of law including Christianity and Judaism None of them are legally binding and they do not have the force of the law of the land. Nor should they have. The last thing we want is a resurgence of mediaevalism. That is why I am firmly opposed to religion intersecting with politics. They should be kept absolutely separate.

    3. Ian Townson 24 Aug 2011, 5:09pm

      Yes, Peter, but you were part of that demonising/stereotyping of the muslim community by your relentless attack (with others) on the East London Mosque even if it was for the ‘right’ reasons. This despite attempts by local LGBT groups and the ELM/Islamic Centre to build bridges and get rid of the Islamist fanatics. The fact that this did not happen quick enough for your liking or Gilligan’s made you run rough shod over the whole communit process that was going on.

  7. Terry Stewart 23 Aug 2011, 1:57am

    https://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=209155182472416

    This link will take you to the East London Pride Parade and festival organised for the 24th of September 2011.

    This is the Official East London Pride Festival.

    We the LGBTQ community in East London are bringing you an LGBTQ Parade and Festival you will not forget. We are about our community and making sure that we are 100% included and accepted for who we are.

    We are diverse and come from every corner of the World. We are you and we hope you will join us in having a day which speaks about the aspirations dreams and future which we all desire.

    No Racism, No Homophobia No Islamaphobia and above all No Hate!

    Dance – Drama – Music – East Ends Greatest DJ – LGBTQ Arts installations – BBQ – Picnic – Debate – Discussion – Politics – Fashion – and most of all You.

    Mr Tatchell this event has been on the cards from last September.

    1. Jock S. Trap 23 Aug 2011, 9:36am

      Funny how you promote this when it suits you. Shame you couldn’t be more supportive about whats been happening and more vocal towards the LGBTQI community.

    2. Terry, this event hasnt been ‘on the cards since last September’. Nothing was planned until the team at East End Gay Pride decided to stop waiting for their community leaders to do something, and actually do something themselves.

      If I remember rightly, yourself and Jack Gilbert did nothing but demonise the planned event from the start. Instead of offering support and guidance as community leaders should be doing.

      Why wait more than a year to do something, when te EEGP team accomplished something in a matter of weeks?

    3. Paul Halsall 23 Aug 2011, 2:58pm

      You have 45 “yes’s” at the FB page. That does not look like very good organisation. You should step aside.

      1. Ian Townson 24 Aug 2011, 4:50pm

        It’s gone up to 61 and rising.

  8. If you think there are problems in the community, you should go out and talk to people, not parade in front of them.

    If you are serious about doing something, then do a weekly stall (not a one off parade) where you actually talk to people.

    Unless, of course, you are just a racist bunch who won’t talk with people to begin with.

    1. Jock S. Trap 23 Aug 2011, 9:37am

      I’m guessing you don’t know the East End very well.

      1. Ian Townson 24 Aug 2011, 4:57pm

        Lia: A very good suggestion. There are always bound to be people that are hostile. That is alwyays the case. Sometimes we have to take risks. If we hadn’t taken risks in the past there wouldn’t have been a Gay Liberation Movement. Parading is a show of strength and solidarity but it doesn’t plant roots.

  9. I’d welcome an event to celebrate Pride in East London – and now it looks like there could be two!

    However:

    “Pride London is a suitably respected and neutral body to host the event, with the necessary experience and resources. ”

    Unfortunately, Pride London has shown itself to be neither neutral nor respectable.

    When evidence of EDL links were already circulating, here was the response by Pride London’s chair Paul Birrell:

    “Perhaps one of the most bizarre rumours floating around is that Pride is being used as a front for the far right. Leaving aside the admitted similarity in appearance between the far right and quite a few gay men – it’s the boots and cropped hair – the idea that the far right has decided to re-brand itself with a bit of Kylie and some rainbow flags is laughable.”

    Nice. Credible accusations of far-right involvement, and he responds with a joke and entirely refuses to take even the possibility seriously.

    1. Later, once the accusations were confirmed, the following message:

      “Pride London believes that a pride event in the East End of London was a great opportunity to show that there are no gay-free areas in our city. However recent events, including the in-fighting and personal attacks amongst many groups and individuals, alongside the lies of one of the organizers, have made East End Gay Pride no longer viable as an event. We, with regret, support the decision to cancel the event.

      We have a proud history of supporting prides in hostile environments. Our toolkit “Prides Against Prejudice: Organizing Pride In A Hostile Environment” has been used by pride events particularly in Eastern and Central Europe to enable pride there. We have been proud to give direct support to events such as Riga Pride and Belarus, and were happy to offer advice in London in the face of criticism that the event itself was provocative. It is a shame that we were not able to resolve the squabbling around ….”

      1. … an event in our own city, and a shame that such a positive event was painted as being negative because of one man.”

        Rather takes the biscuit – you get caught out denying flat out the possibility that the EDL could be involved, and when it’s shown beyond all doubt that they are – you cancel the event without even *mentioning* the EDL and put more effort into criticising the local groups who had actually been pointing out the EDL links the whole time!

        Like Stonewall, Pride London have shown themselves to be clueless and incompetent despite their experience and resources.

        1. EDL was not involved in the EEGP. One of the organisers of EEGP had been a supporter of EDL from March to June 2010. He left because he did not agree with the tactics of EDL. EDL knew nothing of EEGP, and when told they were not welcome at it accepted that decision. The Kapo Gauleiters of the gay community then proceeded to make sure that EEGP was destroyed rather than have islam subjected to criticism.

          Even now we see that Tatchell is only making this call for a EEGP in response to the fact that EDL is having a demonstration in Tower Hamlets on 3rd September, which will be addressed by the leader of the EDL LGBT group.

          The number of British muslims who are tolerant of homosexuality is so small that they are (statistically) non-existent. http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2009/may/07/muslims-britain-france-germany-homosexuality

          Tatchell would rather talk up the 0.5% of tolerant muslims as if they were the majority. They are not.

          1. Ian Townson 24 Aug 2011, 4:44pm

            Rainbow Hamlets and Out East were absolutely correct to oppose the EEGP march which was in danger of being hijacked by the EDL to stage a deliberately provocative demonstration designed to intimidate muslims which would gain them great kudos for recruitment. Some of the EDL members hold dual BNP membership and their leader has clear connections with that fascist party which thrives on racist, anti-semitic and homophobic politics as well as the usueal left bashing. The BNP may have prettied itself up over the years but cosmetic surgery cannot disguise the actions of their intimidating, drunken thugs.

            Even if it is true that the majority of muslims are intolerant then they need to be influenced by more progressive politics not by smacking them in the gob, burning mosques or banning Islam. The same goes for intolerant christians and jews and any others.

            By the way there are no Kapos or Gauleiters in the gay community. Not unless they have joined the BNP/EDL.

  10. Another Hannah 23 Aug 2011, 11:27am

    It is pretty evident through the actions of the courts, and the failure to use the army and police to ensure the SAFETY and FREEDOM of ALL citizens that this country, that there is no political will to ensure freedom, democracy and liberty in this country, so I have to say that if I was in East London I would leave for elswhere unitl proper safety is assured and enforced.

  11. It is shameful how the media, including the gay press, shy away from the Islamification of Britiain.

    1. Francis McDonagh 23 Aug 2011, 2:24pm

      Mark has revealed his lack of understanding – or is it is prejudice? – about Britain today. People of faith and secular people can be honest about their differences without encouraging suspicion and hatred. This is our great challenge.

      1. This is the typical response from the left – ignore and then maginalise anyone who objects to their multicultural agenda. If you are so “honest about differences without encouraging suspicion and hatred” why are you so dismissive about the fear of Islamification?

        Anyone who lives around east London can tell you Islamification is real. Posters with women in swimwear get painted over with full hijab; gangs terrorising women for dressing immodestly; And yes – the gay free zone stickers

        If you don’t recognise the problem how can you even begin to address it?

        1. Ian Townson 23 Aug 2011, 11:25pm

          It is sad that we have allowed a tiny minority of loud-mouthed, bigoted Islamist fanatics to capture the terms of debate around East London Gay Pride. I have no statistics to prove it but my guess is that most muslims couldn’t give a toss one way or the other about LGBT people. They are far too busy making a living and countering the tidal wave of abuse coming their way from those who have been fooled into believing that Britain is in imminent danger of Islamisation. These unfounded fears are exactly what the EDL play upon to gain recruits to their movement.

          For goodness sake let’s wipe the slate clean and get behind the East London LGBT Pride event on 24th September to show that the LGBT community in East London is a force for unity and strength in the community against the vicious and divisive tactics of the EDL.

          1. The mainstream media assume that most muslims are moderate and tolerant. It’s a healthy assumption – it’s always a good idea to assume that other people are nice rather than the other way around.

            However, this assumption is not back up by facts. Someone posted a useful link to a Guardian website [you can’t get more left-wing muslim friendly than that!]. The proposition of muslims who are tolerant of homosexuality is a tiny minority. Thus we are not dealing with individual extremists within the religion, we are dealing with the religion as a whole. Unless we recognise the magnitude of the problem we are dealing with it is just re-arranging deck chairs on the Titanic

  12. Peter Tatchell 23 Aug 2011, 2:04pm

    It is great that there is an East End Pride planned for 24 September. I will support it and publicise it. But this event starts in Hackney. We need an event in E1, where most of the Gay Free Zone stickers were plastered and when some of the worst homophobic attacks took place.

    1. Paul Halsall 23 Aug 2011, 2:57pm

      Peter is absolutely right.

      There seems to be a real fear and resistance to facing down the homophobia where it is most prominent.

    2. The homophobic attacks outside the George & Dragon happened in E2 not E1. The event on the 24th September starts in Hackney and finishes in Bethnal Green, E2, just round the corner from the G&D
      http://www.eastlondonpride.org.uk/

  13. Peter Tatchell 23 Aug 2011, 2:09pm

    BTW: the 24 September event is not planning to invite (according to their website) Black, Asian, Muslim and Jewish organisations to participate and speak. At this time we need to engage with and involve these other communities to build a broad alliance against hate and prejudice. A purely LGBT event is understandable but not enough. Let our community show leadership in uniting people.

    1. The 24th September event show Imman, the Muslim LGBT group as one of their supporters on the website
      http://www.eastlondonpride.org.uk/
      How can you know that other groups are or aren’t being invited?

  14. Peter Tatchell 23 Aug 2011, 2:23pm

    Ooops! Sorry. My earlier post should have read:
    It is great that there is an East London Pride planned for 24 September. But it has not been well publicised. Most people don’t know anything about it. Nevertheless, I will support and publicise the plans for 24/9. There is room for two events, perhaps spaced a bit more apart.

    1. Ian Townson 23 Aug 2011, 11:36pm

      Steer clear of 1st October. There is a demonstration to celebrate the 65th anniversary of the battle of Cable Street against fascism.

      1. 75th anniversary Ian

        1. Ian Townson 25 Aug 2011, 9:57am

          Sorry, you are correct. Can’t add up proper.

  15. John Roche 24 Aug 2011, 9:28am

    I completely agree with Peter Tatchell and would welcome the opportunity to march in East London to demonstrate that the days of Homophobic intimidation in Britain are no longer acceptable or tolerated

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