Controversy as UK Pride bans drag queens


pride_bans_drag_performersIn what some have described as social justice politics gone wrong, a Pride event in the UK has banned drag acts from its entertainment lineup.

In a statement, the organisers of Free Pride Glasgow announced that “after much discussion, the trans and non binary caucus decided not to have drag acts perform at the event.”

They said the “decision was taken by transgender individuals who were uncomfortable with having drag performances at the event.”

Organisers accused some drag performances, “particularly cis drag,” of making gender into a “joke”.

The group explained that, “It was felt that it would make some of those who were transgender or questioning their gender uncomfortable.”

Non-performing participants remain free to “wear what they want to the event” and the policy only applies to performers.

Free Pride Glasgow, which takes place on August 22, was created in response to Pride events becoming “over-commercialised and de-radicalised” and, ironically, to ensure that Pride is “accessible to all.”

After being criticised by transgender drag artists, organisers later decided that drag acts will be allowed after all, but only if the performers are transgender. Cisgender performers will remain banned.

Organisers justified their stance by arguing that the event “aims to represent those underrepresented in our community, including but not limited to trans and non-binary people, women, people of colour, intersex people, asexual people and people with disabilities.”

The amended policy remains controversial, with the event being blasted on social media for being divisive, discriminatory and exclusive.

Writing on the group’s Facebook page, Veronica Prior reacted: “I am trans myself and think it’s ridiculous that cis drag performers are being excluded! They are part of this community as well and this is horrible that any trans person would be offended by a female impersonator. Some trans girls need to grow a thicker skin and get over it.”

Organisers of Pride Glasgow, the city’s traditional Pride event, commented to Pink News, that while they can “understand the actions behind Free Pride” they believe that the move is “going against what an inclusive event should be about.”

They noted that, “drag queens and kings play an important part in the history of the Pride movement and should be included within the event.”

Pride Glasgow further stated: “Any community group should be given their place to flourish but that success should not be built on the negativity and ignorance towards other events, groups and like minded people and we are saddened to see that this is the direction that Free Pride has chosen to take.”

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