“Free Pride” event to be held in Glasgow to challenge commercialisation

Stuart Rodger

Free Pride looking to broaden inclusivity and accessibility to Pride

A group seeking to challenge what it sees as the “commercialisation” of Pride will be hosting an alternative event during Pride Glasgow celebrations tomorrow.

“Free Pride” will be hosting a protest feeder march which will join the main Parade. It will begin at 11am at King’s Court, in the Trongate, before marching to Glasgow Green where the official march sets off at 12 noon. Leading the main parade will be the Time for Inclusive Education (Tie) campaign.

Following the parade, the group will host a range of workshops, talks and performances at the Glasgow School of Art. On the agenda will be workshops with West Glasgow Against Poverty, talks on asexuality and bisexuality, and talks from the Sex Workers Open University.

“Pride is for LGBTQIA+ people. It is not for corporations to make themselves look LGBT friendly and make profit off us.”  Free Pride

Meanwhile, the event will host stalls from organisations including the Scottish Transgender Alliance, Rape Crisis Scotland, Glasgow Women’s Library and the Sex Workers Open University, the Terrence Higgins Trust and Black Lives Matter.

Talking about their motivations, organisers said on their website: “One of the main issues that Free Pride has been set up to protest is the commercialisation of Pride. Pride is for LGBTQIA+ people. It is not for corporations to make themselves look LGBT friendly and make profit off us.”

They added that it was also about broadening inclusivity: “We have grown tired of mainstream Pride’s lack of inclusiveness for transgender, intersex and asexual people and other marginalized groups that make part of our LGBTQIA+ communities, including disabled people/people with disabilities and people of colour.

“From the harassment and violence levelled at the Trans community to the treatment of LGBTQIA+ asylum seekers, we are continually reminded that society isn’t for us and that needs to change. Pride should be a platform to demand and make that change, not just an opportunity to be sold things and promoted to.”

However, despite its stated position on inclusivity, Free Pride refused an interview request from CommonSpace, saying: “The group don't want to give a comment because of some of the people associated with CommonSpace ie. ISG [International Socialist Group] types. So unfortunately we'll have to say no.”

Throughout the day there will also be a variety of artistic performances, including poetry and spoken word. In the evening the group plan DJ sets from Letitia Pleiades, Kaiserin  and others. There will also be screenings of films from the Scottish Queer International Film Festival (SQIFF) and Lock Up Your Daughters Filmmaking.

Pride Glagow, meanwhile, intends to host a festival at Glasgow Green, and will be charging £10 for a day pass. Their festival will include a “community expo” with around 70 charity and community group stalls, a family area, sports zone, dog show, and performances from GBX, Toploader and others.

They say in their guide: “Every year we use the Parade to highlight an issue still facing the LGBTI community, either in Scotland, UK, or worldwide. This year we have partnered up with the Time for Inclusive Education (TIE) Campaign to ensure all schools in Scotland an LGBTI+ Inclusive education, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.”

Pride Glasgow could not be reached for comment, but has in the past explained to the Evening Times: “We have worked to keep the ticket price as low as possible while still being able to meet the costs involved in producing the festival. The tickets also help raise money for The Pride Fund designed to support the LGBT Community in Glasgow and the West of Scotland.”

Picture courtesy of Pride Glasgow

Check out what people are saying about how important CommonSpace is. Pledge your support today.