No pride in Pride

In June, the Welsh Government announced that it was awarding Pride Cymru £25,000 this year, as part of a long-term plan to ‘embed support for the organisation’.

The Welsh Government has supported Pride in the past, but now we are putting this support on a firmer footing, to help with long-term planning and sustainability, not just for a single event but in recognising the role Pride plays as a grassroots movement.

We will be making £25k of new funding available for Pride Cymru this year and will be embedding this support, and substantially more in the future. Alongside this, we will also be establishing a new Wales-wide Pride Fund to support grassroots events across the country. We will support smaller movements to thrive and help ensure that every LGBTQ+ person can take part in what Prides have to offer.

On the face of it this appears to be a laudable decision. Unfortunately, the dominance of the ‘no debate’ gender identity lobby, spearheaded by Stonewall, means that Pride is now little more than a corporate jamboree where organisations can earn some quick and easy diversity points. With a shimmer of glitter and a few strategic rainbows, it is increasingly totalitarian and homophobic, including only those who mouth the appropriate gender identity mantras. And those who don’t?

First they came for the lesbians, in London and at Pride Edinburgh:

“Many words have been used to describe our action and the women involved: ‘anti-trans’, ‘hateful’, bigoted’, ‘old’, ‘bitches’, ‘saggy tits’, ‘TERFs’. In truth, we are simply unapologetic lesbians and feminists. Get The L Out means removing the already marginalized ‘L’ from an alliance that is failing lesbians.”

Sarah from Get the L Out

As a migrant and lesbian who was born in a totalitarian state it was really shocking to come to the Scottish Pride, where we carried a banner “Lesbian visibility”, and be shouted at, by a group of mostly male white teenagers with the transgender flags, that we need to be ‘fucked’, ‘ashamed’ and ‘get the fuck out’.

Anonymous comment collated by For Women Scot

For me there as an ally, I was struck by the near hysteria of those opposing the lesbian visibility contingent. And the lack of any real women’s self-organised presence other than us. All the young women were clustered around men.

Anonymous comment collated by For Women Scot

Then it was Swansea’s turn as lesbians holding ‘Transactivism erases Lesbians’ signs were forcibly ejected from the Pride march by police.

And last weekend at Manchester Pride, participants turned their venom on a gay man, targeted because he was wearing an LGB Alliance T-shirt and beanie hat. In case you are unaware of the LGB Alliance, it is a registered UK charity approved by the regulators. The Alliance was set up by veteran lesbian, gay and bisexual rights campaigners and activists, including one of the original founders of Stonewall, who felt that the lobby group no longer represented them. This is demonstrably the case.

So who does Pride – and by extension Stonewall – now speak for?

Above all, Pride is now a public reinforcement of an ideology that insists that men can become women simply by identifying as such; that gender non-conforming young people should be fast-tracked on to puberty blockers and a lifetime of medicalisation; that single-sex spaces, services and opportunities should be denied to women and girls; and celebrates the public expression of sexual fetishes.

What I saw at the Pride today was an exhibitionism of totalitarian patriarchal male fetish covered in ‘transgender’ flags that seizes every opportunity to dismiss and attack women’s boundaries.

Anonymous comment collated by For Women Scot

Can we expect similar scenes at a state-sponsored Pride Cymru? Less than 20 years after the repeal of Section 28 in Wales, will we see the return of government-sanctioned homophobia, only this time dressed up in faux-progressive language about gender identity and inclusion?

It is clear that Pride and Stonewall, the organisation that is driving the gender identity juggernaut, no longer represent lesbian, gay and bisexual people. In fact, they are actively harmful to the interests and boundaries of lesbians and bisexual women.

The Welsh Government needs to listen to the voices of LGB people who are now under attack by the very organisation that was set up to defend them. Instead, they have consistently refused even to meet with lesbians, gay men and bisexuals who are not toeing the Stonewall line.

Veteran gay rights campaigner Simon Callow, one of the most vocal critics of Section 28, recently spoke out about the direction taken by Stonewall, which has seen its most unpleasant expression at Swansea, Edinburgh and Manchester Prides:

They have taken a very strange turn towards the tyrannical, a dangerously prescriptive position on a complex issue. When it impinges on women’s rights, hard-won women’s rights, the right to exclusive spaces for women, away from any threat at all — I think that’s a very serious issue.

He’s right.
Merched Cymru and LGB Alliance Cymru are working together to respond to Welsh Government’s LGBT+ Action Plan. See our page here.