Unite has announced it will not be taking part in the Glasgow Pride march after lambasting the “commercialisation” of the event.
The trade union’s Scottish LGBT+ committee issued a strongly worded statement criticising charges imposed on organisations to be part of the event and taking aim at big companies using Pride merely to “enhance their customer reach”.
Pride Glasgow’s march, held on Saturday, will feature a parade from the Clydeside to the city centre and celebrations at the Riverside Museum.
Last year’s event was marred by ticketing problems, and led to the resignation of former chief executive Alastair Smith.
Tickets to enter the charity’s march this year cost LGBT+ groups £120 for a walking group or £420 for commercial organisations, while it costs £600 to have a float at the event.
Describing Pride as a protest, Unite Scotland’s LGBT+ committee wrote: “The Pride movement started as a riot 50 years ago this year at Stonewall Inn and as we remember this, we remember those we have lost and also celebrate the gains we have made.
“Yet, for some large commercial organisations, support for LGBT equality merely extends to paying a fee for a Pride March or temporary rainbow branding to enhance their customer reach.
“Once Pride season is over, there is no wider benefit to the LGBT community.”
It is with a heavy heart that Unite Scotland is not taking part in Pride Glasgow 2019 : statement from the Unite Scotland LGBT+ Committee.
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— Unite Scotland (@UniteScotland) August 15, 2019
They added: “We hear nothing about what is happening in our communities, about rising intolerance and hate crime, and the violence being perpetrated against LGBT+ citizens of our country.
“When people are abused and beaten for being themselves, the response from Pride is deafening in its silence.
“The politics has been driven from Pride by over-commercialisation and greed of those involved in making it ever more commercial for financial gain.”
Chris Tait, chairman of Pride Glasgow, said: “We think of sponsorship as an opportunity – an opportunity to help educate organisations and businesses about the Pride movement and connect them with the very community they are trying to engage, face-to-face.
“We know diversity is high on everyone’s agenda and we’re trying to help those organisations make their contributions meaningful and not just lip service to what they should be doing to tick a box.”
“We’ve said it many times in the last few months and we’ll say it again – the march is our main focus.”
Earlier in the summer, Glasgow hosted a MardiGla march and Free Pride, which billed itself as a non-commercial alternative Pride event, held at the CCA.
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