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Pride Is Great, But Where's The Anger?
Gay Pride is a celebration of sexual diversity – but it is important not to forget the need for a clenched fist
Eamonn McCann, 27 Aug 2012
Eamonn Gilmore marked Dublin Pride with a pledge that he’ll back gay marriage. Even so, maybe he will.
By all accounts, this year’s event was, again, giddy with joy and splashed in colour – a contrast with World Pride in London on July 7, expected to draw upwards of a million but severely curtailed on orders from the cops and the London Assembly.
Floats were banned, a party planned for Soho cancelled, the march brought forward from 1pm to 11am and the Trafalgar Square gig/rally so restricted that half the performers had to be pulled.
The stated reason for the restrictions was that the organisers couldn’t show they had the resources to deliver their programme – although it’s far from clear how changing the time of the parade or banning floats could impact on cost.
The London slogan, “Decriminalise homosexuality worldwide – Global equality for LGBT people,” thus appeared in a somewhat subdued setting. But here’s a question: might this have been a blessing in disguise?
There have always been two potentially contradictory aspects to Gay Pride – celebration of identity and all that’s been achieved, and acknowledgement of persisting oppression. A forest of hands happily waving is entirely appropriate. But so would be the occasional clenched fist.
There are still young gay, bisexual and transgendered people subjected to systematic bullying day in and day out to the extent that some despair in their isolation. The figures for suicide are chillingly clear.
In at least a score of countries, laws criminalising gay sex give the green light for assault and murder. Muslim clerics and Christian preachers denounce LGBT people as deviants doing the work of the devil and deny them the protections of citizenship.
Saudi Arabia has been forced for the first time to include a woman in its Olympic squad. But Saudi is also among a number of countries which bar gay people not only from national teams but from national life generally.
Here, the issue of gay marriage remains unresolved, and depending on the likes of Gilmore would be foolish. In the North, a political system pre-programmed to deadlock rules out serious challenges to the bigotry of the DUP.