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Pride organisers slam Stonewall in damning new report – and demand an apology

Ella Braidwood July 3, 2018

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

European pride organisers have hit-out at Stonewall in a damning new report, condemning the charity for partnering clothing brand Primark.

The new report – compiled by the UK Pride Organisers Network and European Pride Organisers Association – slammed the LGBTQ rights charity’s recent conduct, and demanded an apology from chief executive Ruth Hunt. 

The UK Pride Organisers Network had already criticised the LGBTQ+ rights charity in May for its deal with Primark, which involves Pride-branded merchandise being sold in selected European and US stores.

As part of the partnership, 20 percent of the profits from the rainbow-themed range will go to Stonewall.

Now, in a new publication, the UK and European Pride organisations have issued six recommendations for the charity.

These include that, within one month of the next Board of Trustees meeting, “Stonewall publishes a policy statement on Pride, in which it affirms that Pride is an important event for the whole LGBT community…and that it does not seek, now or in the immediate future, to run Pride events.”

The report’s recommendations continue: “The chief executive of Stonewall issues a public apology acknowledging the disquiet amongst Pride organisers about their conduct, and committing the organisation to work more constructively with Prides.”

Pride organisers have lashed out at Stonewall in the new report. (NIKLAS HALLE’N/AFP/Getty Images)

The document calls on Stonewall to “restrict all of the funds from the Primark deal,” stating that 51 percent of profits should be given “external organisations” in China, Turkey, and Myanma – and the remaining 49 percent should be “paid to the UK Pride Organisers Network, for distribution to Prides in need.”

One of the UK’s biggest Pride marches, Pride in London, will take place this Saturday July 7.

In February, Stonewall pulled out of the event, accusing organisers of failing to represent people of colour. 

Further guidance in the new publication urges Stonewall to “agree not to enter into any future sponsorship or other fundraising deal that includes the word ‘Pride,'” and, instead, “encourage the company/ies involved to support Prides directly.”

Other directions in the publication are that Stonewall should “agree that publicly criticising a Pride is not in keeping with the values of our movement,” and that it should agree to a biannual meeting with the UK Pride Organisers Network “to discuss Stonewall’s support for the Pride movement.”

Responding to the report, the UK Pride Organisers Network told PinkNews: “We had a very positive meeting with Stonewall yesterday and look forward to their official response and to move things forward for the future,” adding: “We have no further comments at this time.”

A spokesperson from Stonewall told PinkNews: “Prides are often volunteer-led and take an enormous amount of time, effort and resource to host. They are essential to the communities they serve because they enable the visibility and celebration of LGBT people.

“Stonewall is also working towards acceptance for all LGBT people, both here and abroad, alongside activists, organisations and local groups in the UK and in countries across the world.

“There’s so much more to do before everyone has full equality. We welcome conversations with Prides on how we can move forward as one movement.”

Pride in London’s march will take place this Saturday, which Stonewall pulled out of in February. (Scott Eisen/Getty Images)

The report also includes a consultation that was sent out to pride organisers in European cities where Primark stores are selling Pride merchandise in partnership with Stonewall.

Among the scathing responses, which are all anonymous, are: “Stonewall seems to have assumed the (unelected, and unwanted) role of ‘LGBT+ police,'” and that the charity is “exclusive, competitive and aloof.”

One respondent complained that the charity is “disconnected, urban centric and focused on the G of LGBT above all,” while another said that it “looks down on smaller LGBT+ charities.”

Just one out of 38 respondents was supportive of Stonewall’s deal with Primark, saying: “We should be pleased that Primark has recognised the Pride culture, with our heritage (and continuing) culture of having to fight oppression and has thus chosen an appropriate organisation to recognise and donate to.”

And other pride organisers, however, did praise Stonewall for being an “extremely organised group” and a “great resource tool.”

And one respondent – self-identified as the organisers for Preston Pride – criticised the UK Pride Organisers Network for “jumping on this ‘fight'” with Stonewall, saying there are “far more important issues in the world.”

More: Pride, Stonewall, UK Pride Organisers Network

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