As we conclude Pride month, our LGBT+ Officer Antony Riley writes about its importance in 2018.
For some in 2018, it is easy to forget where Pride has its origins amongst the pink-washing, amongst rainbow flags plastered across merchandise in an attempt to profit from our identities and with pride celebrations themselves being turned into an event that is less of a protest and more of an exclusionary party.
Pride in the UK began in London in 1972, on a date intentionally chosen to coincide with the anniversary of the Stonewall Riots of 1969. We now have more than 100 Pride events across the country, set up with the intention of remembering the sacrifices made by those who came before us in the fight for our rights and to raise awareness of the frontiers we still need to conquer. It is essential to remember, this Pride season across the UK, that first and foremost Pride is inherently political; we didn’t end our struggle with the repeal of Section 28, equal adoption and marriage laws, and we have a duty to acknowledge and lend our support to those in our community who still face incomparable discrimination – in my view, without a doubt, one of the most pressing issues on which we must focus is our need to fight for and with our trans counterparts in our community and provide them with platforms to talk openly and candidly about their experiences, whilst making sure we call out the ignorance and bullying against them in the media.
The Labour Party has and always will be the party of equality. We have and always will be the party that continues to fight for a more inclusive and fairer society, as long as we as LGBT+ people are vocal and outspoken about our rights, and our place both within and outside party structures. We need to table motions in our CLPs pledging our solidarity with our trans counterparts and we need to engage with our CLPS to try and ensure that our liberation is self-organised, providing safe spaces for us to engage with local politics. As students, we also need to work effectively within NUS ensuring that the voices of those in our caucus are heard, represented and that action is effectively taken. As a caucus we need to strive to make sure our voice is heard in NUS LGBT+ conferences and circles too, lobbying at every level and working together to make sure that LGBT+ students across the UK have the representation they deserve.
It is crucial that we remember the fight of those who came before us in our movement and continue to respect and carry on their efforts, not just this Pride season, but in our daily political activity and existence in continuing to fight for our liberation.