Leeds LGBT Pride 2011 had the biggest consciously politicised element the city has seen since it started holding its own event six years ago. Pride celebrations can often be apolitical and dominated by commercial interests, but not so this year. The trade union presence was strong (with delegations from Unite, Unison, Usdaw and the TUC) and there was a significant layer of militant youth and students protesting against cuts to LGBT services and rising homophobia and transphobia. The parade through the city centre was joined by th 100-strong ‘Don’t Cut the Rainbow’ contingent of local anti-cuts protesters, giving a resounding political voice to the festivities. The protesters’ loud and angry voices were a welcome reminder that Pride events began as protest marches in the aftermath of the Stonewall riots.
Socialist Party memebers proudly joined in the march and spent the afternoon talking with local workers, activists, trade unionists and young people about fighting the cuts and defending LGBT rights and services. We will be hosting public meetings on the issues in order to build our base in this section of the community as part of our broader anti-cuts work across the city.
Dave Younger, Leeds City Socialist Party