Britain’s biggest LGBT charity has quit Pride in London and accused organisers of failing to represent non-white communities.
Stonewall said the annual pride event had ignored repeated “concerns about the lack of diversity and inclusion”.
Last year the organisation that runs Pride in London denied allegations from its own community advisory board that bosses refused to meet with activists from UK Black Pride.
Stonewall says it will now take a bigger role in UK Black Pride, which traditionally takes place on the same day, as it cites racism as a major ongoing problem among LGBT communities.
In a statement the charity said: “We have also made the decision not to attend Pride in London this year.
“We know this is an event that’s important to many in our communities and very much hope to attend in future years. However last year, Pride in London’s Community Advisory Board again raised concerns about the lack of diversity and inclusion at Pride in London – particularly of black and minority ethnic communities.
“Pride in London rejected those concerns from the community in the strongest terms and, as yet, have failed to make any public acknowledgment that they may need to make significant changes if Pride in London is to be an event for everyone. “
The row comes after Pride in London’s Independent Community Advisory Board (CAB) tore into the organisation over its perceived failures.
Organisers were accused of breaking down relationship and trust between the UK’s biggest LGBT celebration and UK Black Pride “irretrievably”.
London’s Pride in the Park was also criticised for lacking non-white speakers on panels, despite taking place nearby to the BAME LGBT event.
Stonewall added that they would be willing to stay involved with Pride in London in future years – but only if they rectify perceived past errors.
“We continue to be very willing to support Pride in London on this journey and recognise that they are taking some steps to increase the diversity of Pride in London and the events around it,” the charity added.
“We’re looking to support Prides around Britain to create events that are as inclusive as possible of all LGBT people in their communities.
“It is vital that organisations listen to those they represent and respond with an openness to improve and change.”
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Stonewall will now fund the travel costs of 75 young people who want to attend UK Black Pride as part of its increased involvement in the event.
Responding to the allegations, a spokesperson for Pride in London told PinkNews: “We will always welcome Stonewall to march with pride in the Parade, and we hope to welcome their team at many community-driven events that will take place this year, during the Pride Festival.
“Embracing diversity in all its forms, and supporting organisations like UK Black Pride, is absolutely at the heart of our mission as a team.
“Our volunteers work hard to put on an event that is for everyone. It brings our diverse community together and gives groups, individuals, and organisations the opportunity to show what pride means to them.
“We are working closely with the Community Advisory Board and are dedicated to making Pride a success for all our communities – from those who have never been involved, to those who come back year-on-year, enabling them to celebrate, protest and march for equality.”
Others have criticised the decision to boycott the 2018 event.
Edwin Sesange, an African LGBTI activist, told PinkNews: “The issue of unfair representation of some communities in the LGBTI community is unacceptable and many organisations have been accused of the above in the past.
“I am not sure whether the boycott is the right move or in the best interest of ethnic minority groups.
“It is high time for all parties to work together towards a fairer representation.”