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‘We are sorry’: Pride Sheffield U-turn, saying pride is about ‘protest and celebration’

Ella Braidwood May 12, 2018

Pride in London's iconic annual parade will take place this Saturday. (NIKLAS HALLE'N/AFP/Getty Images)

Pride Sheffield has apologised after claiming that the event is “not a protest,” saying that the organisers “got it wrong” – and that pride is “about protest as well as celebration.”

The organisers of the LGBT+ event had come under fire after issuing controversial guidelines earlier this week, warning activists against carrying “controversial” political signs.

An information sheet distributed to participating groups had set out the rules, stating: “Please note that any groups attending with banners or placard will be viewed by the Parade Manager, any that are deemed to be ‘offensive’ will not be allowed in the March.

“Please note, it’s a march of celebration, not protest.”

The event’s website had also specified that it “will not be accepting any applications by Political Groups for this years [sic] event,” though political activists have marched on a number of occasions previously.

But now the Pride Sheffield committee has U-turned on its previous statements, saying it “would never wish to censor diversity or prevent protest,” and that participants can wear what they want.

In statement on Pride Sheffield’s website, the committee said: “We are sorry for any misunderstanding regarding guidance we issued about the Pride march and accept that it may have caused offence or upset.

“We have listened to people’s views and we acknowledge we got it wrong. We had originally stated Pride was a ‘celebration not a protest’ following criticism we received after last years’ parade and event.”

Pride Sheffield’s previous guidelines (Pride Sheffield)

The committee went on to say that it is “working hard” to ensure Pride Sheffield “an inclusive, respectful and celebratory event that welcomes everyone,” adding: “We recognise that Pride events evolved from political protest and a movement that strives for equality and community involvement.”

Two teens cuddle at Sheffield Pride (Creative Commons photo/Flickr user Jo Jakeman)

The committee added: “We encourage everyone to wear bright clothing to represent the colours of the rainbow to bring a sense of celebration and visibility to the parade, however this is not a restriction and attendees can wear what they choose.”

When contacted for further comment – and whether political groups would be allowed to take part in this year’s march – Pride Sheffield’s event manager Darren Hopkinson told PinkNews: “We as a committee do not feel the need to put anything further out, the statement makes it very clear what our views are.”

Pride Sheffield’s old guidelines were mocked by people online given the radical roots of modern Pride parades in the Stonewall riots.

One Twitter user wrote: “HEY GUYS LETS JUST FORGET THE ENTIRE HISTORY AND FOUNDATION OF PRIDE?! What the actual fuck @PrideSheffield ??”

(Mikeljjw/Twitter)

Asked for a statement about the previous guidelines last week, Hopkinson told PinkNews: “It’s the same group of people every time we have an issue who we have have problems with.

“We are currently working with our lawyers to take action against those who have created all this drama for no reason.”

More: Pride, Pride Sheffield, Sheffield, Stonewall

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