Open letter to Pride in London – publication and follow up

July 24, 2015 § Leave a comment

First – thank you all so very much for your support, and for bearing with over the past few days – it’s been hectic to say the least.

So So Gay have published our open letter to London Pride, drawn together by Jacq Applebee and myself – and signed by over 100 organisations and individuals. Do please have a read, and spread the word.

Pride in London have sent us a private response, and a request for a private meeting – similar responses from their Board have been sent to the media organisations covering this story.

I believe that, as a public community matter, this is best dealt with openly within the community. So, below the fold, is my response to their response. It’s all getting very long winded.

But before that – I just wanted to say that if you do care about Pride in London, if you have any ideas of how you want it to be – please let them know: info@prideinlondon.org

They may not listen, they may not agree, they may not act – but they can’t say that they haven’t be told.

Thank you again for your support.

Dear [x],

As already given to DIVA and So So Gay, here are some points of clarification, and response to your response.
As a general point, I’d like to re-iterate that this is not a personal message from myself and Jacq – we are acting on behalf of a number of individuals and organisations and, as it is a public matter, think it appropriate that it be dealt with publicly rather than privately.
On to the meat of your response – I think it would be easiest to go through point by point to clear up any confusion:
For the sake of completeness, we make the following observations about the claims in the open letter:
  • Pride in London did not ‘invite’ UKIP to take part in the parade.  The parade is open for application by any group or indeed individuals wishing to take part.

As the letter does at no point state that Pride in London ‘invited’ UKIP to take part, I presume that PiL is referring to initial comments made on my personal twitter feed in a personal capacity. I would ask that you re-read our letter and respond to it as it stands, as a group statement.

  • Parade groups are not required to sign up to the Pride In London Pledge for politicians
 

UKIP is a political group, not a general parade group, and did not sign the Pledge. Much was made of this before, and I do not understand the splitting of hairs or renaming of groups now.

  • We have explained at length INSERT LINK our reasons for refusing UKIP’s application to join the Parade following reaction from some of the community
 

Our open letter is clear in focusing on Pride in London’s responsibility to its Community Advisor Board, wider community and the need for greater transparency and respect. We ask that Pride in London address our actual concerns, as opposed to attempting to shift the discussion elsewhere.

  • That decision was based on our concern for the safety of our volunteer stewards
  • We faced equal levels of criticism from other parts of the community on free speech grounds following the decision to remove UKIP
  • UKIP undertook not to attempt to join the parade
  • In fact, UKIP broke into the parade route.  In order to maintain the safety of all in the parade we accepted the least worst option of inserting UKIP into the parade.  We have provided a detailed report.
 

PiL’s Chairman, Michael Salter, provided a different explanation immediately after the march. We ask that PiL explain the discrepancy between these explanations, and answer honestly as to why Mr. Salter said that PiL had “managed to get them [UKIP] in” and that it was “great that they [UKIP] were able to participate.”

  • It is correct that UKIP had not paid their parade fee by the deadline and nor did they meet the standards of the code of conduct for parade entrants
  • The CIC regulator has reviewed our decision process and actions and approved them.”
 
Moving on to additional points of our letter that were not addressed in your response:
1. PiL has not explained why the CAB was treated the way that it was, the BME representative in particular. I think it pertinent to point out here that said representative is not the only community representative to have resigned from the CAB – [x] having also resigned her support. If Pride cannot listen to and respect its Community Advice Board I fail to understand why it is there.
2. Other people who pushed into the parade were removed by security – why were UKIP treated differently from other gatecrashers?
3. Why were there no responses made to those of us (myself and Jacq included) who have been in contact with you regarding this issue since the beginning?
Speaking for myself, I feel very strongly that those questions need answering. A verbal commitment to diversity, community and responsibility means nothing without the action to realise it.
If you would like my thoughts on how best to proceed, I would suggest public consultation, both online and through offline meetings – I am more than happy to come to a public meeting but, as previously stated, have no desire to meet privately to discuss a public matter. I believe that the position of the Community Advice Board should be strengthened, and that their voices must hold greater weight in decisions affecting the whole of Pride – particularly in regard to the most marginalised people within the broader LGBTQI community.
In hopes of greater transparency, I will be sharing my responses, and encouraging others to share their ideas on how to make Pride more diverse, respectful and intersectional.
Kind regards,
CN

 

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