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Rhondda Pride slammed over ban on ‘bondage wear’ and ‘sexualised costumes’

Ella Braidwood July 31, 2019
Men in bondage wear at Pride

A Pride event in London in 2008. (Photofusion/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

The organisers of the the first ever Pride event in Rhondda, south Wales, have apologised after asking attendees to not come dressed in “bondage wear or sexualised costumes.”

The Facebook page for Rhondda Pride 2019, which has since been taken down, came under fire after posting earlier this week that they had issued the request because they wanted to create a “a fun inclusive event without politics, religion and over sexualisation of the community.”

In the Facebook post, which has been seen by PinkNews, the organisers added that they were “trying to make this a safe space for under 18 LGBTQ+ attendees.”

Rhonnda Pride appears to have temporarily taken down its social media pages. (Facebook)

Chris Bryant, who is the MP for Rhondda and is gay, criticised the organisers over their policy on his social media platforms.

“Look folks, it’s simple, Pride doesn’t cast shame or exclude anyone. I am determined to make sure we have a colourful, inclusive, joyful Rhondda Pride, welcoming the whole LGBTQ+ community, even if I have to organise it myself,” he wrote on Tuesday (July 30).

“And it’ll be Fa-bu-Rhondda-lous.”

Labour MP Chris Bryant criticises Rhondda Pride for ‘no bondage’ request

However, Rhondda Pride 2019, which made a similar post from a now-deleted Twitter profile,  has since issued a public apology.

It clarified that the clothing request was made by one of its organisers and not South Wales Police, after rumours circulated on social media.

The organisers said that they are “currently in the process of discussing the future of this event,” which had been set to take place in September.

The post stated that, if Rhondda Pride goes ahead, it will be a “small event for 500 people and we welcome everyone.”

However,  the organisers added: “Just please be aware that families and under 16s will hopefully be attending.”

Rhondda Pride invites Leathermen Cymru to attend in a “family friendly way”

PinkNews understands that Rhondda Pride originally posted its clothing rule on Facebook after it refused a request from Cardiff-based Leathermen Cymru, a social club for gay leather men, to participate in the event.

In its public apology, Rhondda Pride stated it had  said sorry to the leather group and had invited it to attend the event in a “family friendly way with our support.”

Historically leathermen were at the front and centre of the movement to fight against oppression and for equal rights

Simon Jones, a member of Leathermen Cymru and Mr Leather Wales 2017, told PinkNews: “Supporting local Pride festivals is important to us and a good way for us to connect with the community.

“Our group aims to help people be comfortable with their sexuality as well as arranging social meetings.

“We are pleased to say that Rhondda Pride have agreed to meet with us so we can fully inform them of the history and ethos of Leathermen, and to see how we can help make Rhondda Pride a success.”

Another Leathermen Cymru member, Dean Mark Davies, who was Mr Leather Wales 2018, told PinkNews: “Historically leathermen were at the front and centre of the movement to fight against oppression and for equal rights and along with drag queens and people of colour, leathermen led the riots at Stonewall in New York 50 years ago.”

A spokesperson for South Wales Police told PinkNews that the force was “unfairly implicated” during the backlash over Rhondda Pride’s policy.

“We work with organisers of all events to ensure the safety and welfare of all those who attend community events,” reads a statement sent to PinkNews by South Wales Police.

“Our role is to advise on things like alcohol licenses, crowd management and security.

“In that respect we have been satisfied with the plans the organisers have presented to us and fully support the event which is important for the community.

“We have played no part whatsoever in stipulating who attends – that is a matter for the organiser.”

More: Chris Bryant, Rhondda Pride, south wales police, Wales

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