Gareth Roberts Gareth Roberts

The sinister side of Pride

The festival now feels like a party to which many gay people are not invited

(Credit: Getty images)

So we come to the end of Pride month. We’re all now familiar with the rituals: the rainbow flag plastered across everything from sandwiches to mouthwash, the vapid statements of obeisance from big businesses and institutions. 2022 has seen a bumper crop of these. Rainbow bullets displayed on Twitter by the US Marines. Central London bedecked with the ‘progress Pride’ flag and its ever-expanding mysterious arrows and circles. Even the Halifax piled in, suggesting its customers close their bank accounts if they oppose a policy allowing staff to display their personal pronouns on name tags. 

This week, protesters gathered on Whitehall to declare that ‘Boris Johnson is a fascist’, presumably in response to his recent, grudging acknowledgement that there are two sexes. The footage shows them smiling, laughing and having a great old time while doing this, something one wouldn’t expect from people standing against brutal authoritarianism. 

Pride now signifies a very different thing from its original purpose: a simple refusal to be ashamed of homosexuality

It’s tempting to sit back and laugh, but there is also something increasingly sinister about it all. Pride now signifies a very different thing from its original purpose: a simple refusal to be ashamed of homosexuality. Today it has taken on board the ideas of the American campus, queer theory and gender self-identification. Yet in trying to be more inclusive, it has become less so: those who don’t toe the line on the new orthodoxy when it comes to trans rights are not welcome to join in the festivities.

Ironically, it’s the lesbians and gay men who object to this shift that face the sharp end of Pride and its adherents. Julie Bindel, who was due to give a talk at a library last weekend, was cast out by Nottingham council because of her ‘views on transgender rights’.

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