I am writing you in a personal capacity to voice my disappointment that Pride in London have persisted against all appeals, to maintain the ban on LGBT UKIP from marching officially in this year’s London Pride event.
Although Pride in London insists that the decision was “not made on a political basis”, there is no removing from that fact that the safety issue raised is directly because of UKIP’s political stance. Nevertheless, in this day and age, it is against all conviction to think that the Met Police who has safeguarded many larger events would not be up to the task to do same for 100 or so UKIP members.“Many in our community may have strongly held views about UKIP, their policies and comments”, but that doesn’t mean that ostracization is the answer. Take for instance, some of us are religious, some are not; some of us are political, others are not; etc. But in a free country, we each have rights to all this so long as they are not violent.
By contrast, your action in this matter is only comparable to what we hear from Russia where the reverse is the case; LGBT people not allowed to march ‘because of their safety’; very tokenistic. Or what is obtainable in Zimbabwe, where you can only belong to one political party; that of Mugabe or risk being victimized. Is that where our LGBT community is heading? That if you are part of UKIP, then you are not gay enough?
This sends chills down my spine. I am not a UKIP supporter and strongly oppose their xenophobic, homophobic and racist views and policies; however, that doesn’t in any way make me think or agree that gay people cannot join that party. Or worse still, that if a gay person does so, then they are no more gay or worthy LGBT to be public about their sexuality.
This type of action towards LGBT people is only currently obtainable in religious institution; i.e. the Church of England where being LGBT denies you a welcome to the office of Bishop or to some extent, denies you becoming a priest. That simply says that being gay makes you unworthy to step where ‘proper’ humans do in the church. Just like being a member of UKIP makes you unworthy of being ‘proper’ proud LGBT. Heaven forfend!
I urge you to rethink this action; at least for now. I do recognise what a difficult decision it is but for the spirit of community, it would be best to ensure equal opportunity. Although many have called for a policy on this issue, yet a policy that would stipulate this would be alien in the world we want to achieve.
Finally, I do not see how this can bring change in UKIP. If anything, UKIP LGBT should be praised for their brevity to stand up and out in public to declare that they exist. Of course, many have accused and alleged that they want to ride on Pride to buy UKIP some advantage, but I beg to differ. In any sense, and even if that were to be true, some extreme members of the wider UKIP would pause for a thought seeing their own members parading as out & proud LGBT persons. In fact, we surely can imagine that some of those members probably disapprove.
In essence therefore, I see LGBT UKIP participation as a tactical approach for change within their own party. They may not be raising hell inside the party as have been alleged or even truly so, yet, by doing this, they could be subtly taking a stand; gently nudging the position and simply but staunchly making a case for understanding.
I can go on but I do hope that I have been able to press my point home to you in addition to the many others you must have received. If Pride [in] London want to be bold and return to the actual reason it was created, then it’s time to take London Pride outside of its comfort zone and into the suburbs of London where millions of Londoners do not still know that an event like this exists; where homophobia is still rife; where many young LGBT people still live in fear with no public presence of support. That, to me is where Pride should be scoring points not in petty action of creating two tiers of LGBT people. This has no merit and will yield no good fruit.
Once again, thank you listening and I hope you find the sensitivity to take the right step before it is too late.
Yours in solidarity,