Following a public outcry over the inclusion of an LGBT+ group from UKIP on the London Pride Parade, organisers have banned the group from the parade this year on ‘safety grounds’.
THE revelation that LGBT+ UKIP would be appearing on the London Pride Parade on June 27 sparked a fierce debate within the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) communities nationally, following a series of anti-gay controversies involving the political party over recent years.
Pride organisers have now reversed their original decision to include UKIP on safety grounds and say their decision was not politically motivated.
A spokesperson for Pride in London said: “Over the last few days we, both as individuals and the volunteer Directors of Pride, have had to wrestle with a difficult issue, whether to include a group from UKIP in this year’s Pride in London Parade. We are first and foremost a group from the LGBT+ community, who – as unpaid volunteers – run the event for the LGBT+ community. That is why we are called London LGBT+ Community Pride (LLCP). We aim to unite our community, not divide it, and our intention is to serve the whole of our community with an inclusive event, so to exclude any group is not a decision we take lightly.
“For this year we have reached the decision that UKIP’s application to join the Pride in London Parade, June 27, 2015, will be turned down. This decision has been made after careful consultation in order to protect participants and ensure the event passes off safely and in the right spirit, it has not been made on a political basis. We appreciate many in our community have strongly held views about UKIP, their policies and comments, but is undeniable that there are LGBT+ members of UKIP, including their MEP for Scotland, and it is important to remember that Pride in London aims to be an inclusive event. However, of paramount concern to us is the experience of all participants at Pride, most especially the position we would be putting our volunteer stewards in.
“The Board of Directors will be asking the Community Advisory Board to specifically look at the issue of inclusion in advance of the 2016 event, to assess criteria for Parade entrants and consider whether a new framework is required that is better able to balance the desire of members of the LGBT+ community to participate in Pride with comments made or policies adopted by the organisations they represent (which could include, but is not limited to: charities, NGOs, companies, Trade Unions and Political Parties).”
In February this year Tom Booker, quit his role as UKIP’s LGBT+ Chair and resigned his party membership saying he “could not defend his party anymore”.
LGBT+ UKIP deputy chairman Nathan Garbutt, says: “Pride is supposed to bring people together regardless of their political views.
“But what they are saying is that they only want certain gay people there.”
UKIP is the only one of the main political parties who do not address gay rights.
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