The massive backlash against a UK pride event’s drag queen ban has led to organisers reversing their decision.
Many among the global LGBT community took to social media to express their anger and disbelief at the misguided decision by Free Pride Glasgow to initially bar all drag acts from performing.
The organisers explained that some of its transgender members felt that drag queens make a “joke” of gender and thus make them feel “uncomfortable”.
The group later softened the ban by saying that transgender drag performers would be allowed in its entertainment lineup but not cisgender ones.
On Wednesday, under continued pressure, Free Pride Glasgow announced that it “now welcomes drag performers of all genders and gender identities.”
They added, that “We made a mistake, and we apologise.”
“Drag queens” are widely acknowledged as having been at the forefront of initiating the LGBT equality movement.
Free Pride Glasgow went on to acknowledge: “Drag is an art form, a form of expression and performance, a community with a rich history. The most useful comments and advice that we have been sent from around the world have been from trans people of colour and working class trans people who support drag and have let us know that, without it, they might not have had access to trans/queer culture at all. We are extremely grateful to those individuals who have contacted us to explain this.
“We hope to learn from this in order to foster the kind of community we want to see. We believe there is a greater need for dialogue within, and indeed between the trans and drag communities. We look forward to creating spaces where these dialogues take place with mutual compassion and respect,” said the humbled organisers.
Not everyone celebrated the decision. Writing on the group’s Facebook page, Lauren Jones posted: “My heart goes out to trans*/nb people who once again have had their voices silenced and a potential safe space once again erased. I also feel deeply sorry for the organisers of the event who tried to give the marginalised a voice, only to suffer a ludicrous amount of abuse.”
Jesse Charlebois responded that, “It was a trans caucus trying to silence the free expression of others and legislate gender identity. Not the other way round.”
The new policy was also welcomed by Adam Robert England, who wrote:” When your voice says that all drag queens are racist, transphobic and misogynist without qualification then maybe it should be called out for the stereotype that it is.”
Free Pride Glasgow, which takes place on August 22, was created in response to mainstream Pride events becoming “over-commercialised and de-radicalised” and, ironically, to ensure that Pride is “accessible to all.”