Pride wars - rival event planned to counter commercialism

Pride demo cropped

​Free Pride event will challenge "commercialised" mainstream celebration

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7th July 2015 by Graham Martin 0 Comments

An alternative Pride event will take place in Glasgow this year in an attempt to drag the celebration of LGBTI culture back to its roots.

Activists say the annual festival has become corporatised, commercialised and deradicalised – and are incensed about a decision to charge people £8 to attend a concert in Glasgow Green, featuring the likes of Texas and boyband Union J.

A group called Free Pride has issued an open letter to the main Glasgow Pride organisers, and has organised an alternative day of debate and discussion at Glasgow School of Art, to coincide with the event on 22 August.

It will also raise its banner on the Glasgow Pride march, which is free to attend, on the same day.

The letter states: “The first Pride was a protest – a protest against the violence, erasure and abuse of LGBTQIA+ people that has been carried out against us for decades. Over time, as many societies across the world have become more accepting of LGBTQIA+ people, Pride has departed from its roots and become commercialised and deradicalised.”

“We're tired of being patronised and marketed to by large companies, we're tired of having our histories pink-washed, we're tired of the exclusion of trans, non-binary, disabled, poor, non-white and other marginalised identities and we're tired of the real issues facing our community being swept under the rug,”

The mainstream Pride organisers caused anger when they put a £5 charge on the Glasgow Green event for the first time last year, and said they had been forced to charge after raised Glasgow City Council raised costs.

A spokesman said the long term aim is to make the event free again and welcomed Free Pride’s contribution.