Pride is a Protest

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2008 National LGBT Conference
25 July 2008

Conference recognises that Pride events are a celebration of the lesbian, gay, gisexual and transgender (LGBT) movement’s successes and achievements over the past 50 years. Conference also recognises that pride is a protest, an opportunity for our movement to organise and promote the cause of LGBT people, as well as a prime opportunity to engage with young people on LGBT and trade union issues.

Conference believes that to recruit and organise young LGBT workers, our union needs to be visible as a campaigning voice promoting young LGBT workers’ interests. Pride is often now seen as a ‘party’ aimed at a younger audience, where the majority of parade entries are advertising products, services and employers to the LGBT community, seeking to profiteer from the pink pound. The ‘Pride is a protest’ entries at Birmingham, London and Manchester prides, however, have been a vibrant grass-roots presence, spearheaded by young people, demonstrating that we must not forget that the LGBT community still have some way to go before we can claim that the goals of queer liberation have been achieved.

Conference condemns attempts by Manchester Pride organisers to bully young workers and student activists trying to organise a political entry onto their pride parade, by suggesting that slogans and placards highlighting the struggle for LGBT equality should be ‘vetted’ before entry and may be deemed inappropriate if they criticise corporate sponsors and organisers. We call for solidarity with those prevented from putting forward the LGBT liberation agenda at their own community event.

Conference resolves to call on the National LGBT Committee to:

1Organise mobilisation of unison members and delegations at pride events to openly oppose and challenge any attempts by pride organisers to vet, doctor or censor LGBT liberation activists organising at pride events, and to stand in solidarity with such activists. This should include distributing material condemning such actions on stalls, and encouraging unison members in all sectors to display materials highlighting and condemning such actions in their delegations to pride parades, where they are present;

2Where they exist, organise linking up with ‘pride is a protest’ initiatives at pride events and marching alongside our fellow LGBT activists, putting forward the UNISON agenda in line with the policy and campaigning priorities put forward by LGBT conference;

3Produce materials aimed at young workers for distribution at pride events setting out the work Unison has done, and is doing, to further the LGBT liberation agenda, as well as highlighting the benefits of trade union membership.