The final London Open Meeting for the organisation of this year’s Pride march (Saturday 27 June) discussed the decision to separate the trade union block from Lesbian and Gays Support the Miners (LGSM).
LGSM, following on from the popularity of the film Pride, has been given a position at the front of the march. But the trade unions are in Block C of the march (i.e. at the back), and way behind the prime sponsors of Pride, Barclays, Starbucks and Citi Group. Yet the TUC has also been a big sponsor of Pride, donating up to £400,000 over the years.
According to the Pride Board, the trade union bloc was too big to be at the Head of Parade! It was also said that these firms would have floats with employees participating, many of whom were not in unions.
Clearly the Pride Board don’t want to hurt the feelings of the corporate sponsors. Starbucks, for one, is just not that friendly to trade unions!
But never let it be said that Pride is not open to everyone. UKIP LGBT has applied to join the march and has been accepted.
LGSM have told the organisers that if they can’t march with the unions at the front of the march they will march with them at the back.
There is still time to build the trade union contingent on Pride so that we can encourage LGBT people to join trade unions, using the LGSM story as evidence of what solidarity can achieve.