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Pride in London ‘should have a bi-focus’ after this year’s ‘bi-erasure’, damning new report says

Mayer Nissim August 17, 2017
Pride in London 2017 stage

Pride in London 2017 (Pride in London/markstoreyphotography.com)

Pride in London should pay more attention to bisexuals and transgender people, according to its own community advisory board (CAB), and should even consider a bi-focused Pride parade in the next two years.

The wide-ranging report, which also outlined a breakdown in communication between Pride in London and UK Black Pride, made several recommendations following this year’s Pride events.

In the report, the board expressed its “strong concerns” about the conduct of Pride board in closing registrations early for the annual Pride Parade, which meant that no bisexual group had registered in time.

Pride in London 2017 (Pride in London)
Women at Pride in London 2017 (Pride in London)

No allowance was made for a “late” registration, and it was only following an outcry on social media, that a bi parade entry was included as part of the UK Pride Organisers’ Network.

Additionally, concerns were raised about “biphobic remarks” made by a Cabaret Stage presenter and Parade podium commentator.

“Bi people, despite forming the largest component of the LGBT population, remain marginalised within that community and in society at large, and the organised bi community is itself small and is led by very few volunteers,” read the report.

“The initial response of the LLCP Board that was okay that there was no specific bi group in the Parade was unacceptable.

“The CAB therefore recommend that to compensate for this failure and to combat bi erasure more generally, Pride in London should follow the example of Tel Aviv Pride this year, by making bi people the central focus of the Pride Parade in 2018 or 2019, which would require full engagement of bi people and groups in both planning and execution.”

Tel Aviv Pride in 2017
Tel Aviv Pride in 2017 (JACK GUEZ/AFP/Getty Images)

Additionally, the board suggested that the “more marginalised” members of the LGBT community in London, such as BAME, bi, trans and intersex people, should be given “pride of the place in the Parade” on rotation.

The CAB also called for presenters to be reminded not to make discriminatory remarks, even in jest, and of the need to reflect the diversity of the Pride in London audience.

CAB Chair Adrian Hyyrylainen-Trett said: “There has been significant disquiet across the LGBT+ communities, around Pride’s corporate nature, lack of inclusion [and] bad handling of sensitive intersectionality issues

“It felt that we needed to live up to the expectations of the role and that is providing a frank but honest report on the experiences not only from CAB members but also opinions across our communities.”

Marchers at Pride in London 2017
Marchers at Pride in London (Photo by Josh Jackman)

Related: Major shake-up could see Pride in London moved from Trafalgar Square

CAB Deputy Chair, Edward Lord OBE, paid tribute to the growth of Pride over the last five years, but added: “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.

“We fundamentally believe that Pride needs to be for all LGBT+ people, including those who find the labels themselves to be off-putting, who identify as queer and/or genderqueer, who find the presence of the police or big companies uncomfortable.

“They form part of our communities as well and Pride in London needs to find a way of making them feel welcome. If we achieve that, then we can say truthfully that love, in all of its forms, really does happen here.”

The report also addressed issues surrounding the place of women at Pride in London 2017.

The women's stage in 2017 (Pride in London)
The women’s stage in 2017 (Pride in London)

It acknowledged the success of moving the women’s stage from Soho to Leicester Square, and adding a sponsor, but acknowledged “some disquiet” at aspects of Sinitta’s performances of songs about “the need for big strong men”, not being “universally welcomed by a mainly female crowd”.

“We therefore recommend that Stage producers review and approve set lists prior to the performance to identify if there are any obvious diversity or other issues with an artist’s proposed act,” the report said.

It also noted that senior Pride in London volunteers had liked posts on social media attacking Stonewall chief executive Ruth Hunt who had commented on Pride’s official media partner gtenmedia apparently only promoting events relating to men.

The report read: “For the most high profile leader of an LGBT+ organisation to be attacked in this way for speaking out for gender parity at Pride is completely unacceptable and the CAB hopes that an apology has been forthcoming.”

Prior to this year’s events, Pride in London had been mocked for an ad campaign that appeared to focus primarily on straight people.

PinkNews has contacted Pride in London for comment.

More: BAME, bi erasure, Bisexuality, intersex, London, Pride, Pride in London, Pride in London 2017, report, Sinitta, Trans, Women, women's stage

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