Protest of the Protest at Pride London

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Ok. I am not going to wade into this whole situation and involve myself in an ongoing back and forth as I am too busy actually working on a cohesive, focused and productive project for the provision of PrEP in the UK.

I will however make this statement and my opinion and position on this situation very clear!

I cannot support and will not condone this planned protest against Pride London.

I am so sick and tired of seeing sloppy protests for the sake of protest with no actual results. I question all of this. The intentions behind it, the drive to do it and the benefits (if any) to anyone.

This kind of ‘activism’ reminds me of puppies. You leave them alone in the house while you go to work and you come home to find they have shit all over the place. And they just sit there in the shit and mess and look at you. But that is puppies and they are cute and eventually they grow out of it.

Now that is not to say I am against protests. Far from it. But protests with a bit of focus and that get results.

When I see people ‘support’ or ‘protest’ a million causes I just shake my head! To me it just smacks of a lack of sincerity, a lack of authenticity, a lack of genuineness, a lack of personal identity, a lack of awareness and most of all a lack of focus.

And then I wonder why? Why are you doing this? I am looking on and just seeing these kinds of people pop up at this and that and post pictures of ‘look at me doing this’ or ‘look at me doing that’ – I am not fucking interested in YOU. You don’t need to try so hard!

I would much rather see your work and the results.

Let those speak for themselves. Get out of the way. YOU are not the important part of the equation. That is called ego. It is self-serving and self-indulgent and in fact it is the height of hypocrisy! Something you should be against.

As for protests. YES. Let’s protest like mad! I support protesting. I support it when it is needed. For example, for the jungle in Calais. Against neo-Nazi fascists. Calling out NHS England over PrEP. I use these 3 examples for a reason, if you physically can’t be in a place where people need our help or our actions then we should do all we can and protest here and where ever else we can and there in those places if we can get there. If you are faced with a group who want to literally kill you or an organisation that refuses to interact with you – you need to fucking protest.

You need to challenge this.

But your own community? For London Pride? Really? You think that is the right thing to do? An attack on a community event? YOUR community? That you are a part of? That you belong to? Is it not a much more positive thing to work with community members and leaders to actively create something that we are all proud of – together?

It is so ill thought out. And arrogant. And narrow minded.

Recently, I have been labelled an activist.

I hated the label! I rallied against it until I got tired asking to be called something else. I don’t identify as an activist because a handful of visible ‘activists’ give activism a bad image. I’m bored of it now.

 Let me just point out though that although I now accept that I am in fact an activist, do you know how I arrived here? What my first steps into involving myself with my community were?

Surprise, surprise as a volunteer/host for Pride in London!

If you are so fucking clueless that you can’t see that attacking Pride is cutting you off from the future and from those that are either just discovering our community or re-connecting with it then you need to wake up!

Our community has struggled enough of late with vanishing venues and a diminished sense of the ‘need’ for a community. Are you seriously going to try to attack the biggest gay day of the year here in the UK? Oh yes of course you are…because that is the best way for YOU to get some attention and further your own self-obsessed agenda!

Listen, I don’t disagree with a lot of the issues you have with ‘what Pride is today’. The corporate pink washing etc. But tackle those things not Pride. Organise your own event to address these. Or is it easier for you just to hijack other people’s events and momentum?

I can’t make myself any clearer. You need to take a fucking seat. Or here’s an idea…why don’t you FOCUS on what you are meant to stand for and what we desperately need now which is a strong, well organised HIV/AIDS activism group to tackle pharma and drug access, healthcare inequalities or heaven forbid focus some of that fucking energy on PrEP! On that you have been VERY lacking!

If this sounds harsh or confrontational then good! It is meant to be. We can ALL protest when something pisses us off so much that staying silent is no longer an option. I have just arrived at that point with YOU. Consider this the start of the protest against the protest. And prepare yourself. You haven’t seen me fight yet. If you want to experience that then carry on. But I’ll give you a tip. You are going to need to up your fucking game!

Don’t bother with the social media circus either. I’m not interested in it. I’ve said my piece and now I am fucking off out of this pathetic, petty, attention seeking stunt. Hopefully you’ll see a bit of sense or take a reality check at least!

With love and quite a lot of anger…

Greg

 

 

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3 thoughts on “Protest of the Protest at Pride London

  1. It’s unclear to which group(s) you’re referring in particular. I’ve heard about a number of student and grassroots groups coming together to ‘debate’ and/or discuss the implications of a corporatised London Pride. Naturally, as you point out, community dialogue is essential for any political, socioeconomic and cultural movement — especially one as unwieldy and shifting and expansively inclusive as ours — to acknowledge and approach tough topics, internal affairs, and inequalities within and between communities. Scholars like Samuel R Delany, Stuart Hall, Lisa Duggan, Sarah Schulman, Tim Dean, et al., have brought our attention this sort of community engagement and negotiation, chiefly activism within queer communities across the 1990s and 2000s. Their aim (as must ours now become) was to encourage fellow activists and non-activists alike to think about the broadening scope of a globalising ‘queer project’.

    I think, for instance, ACT UP London’s campaign against the military (a strike which is to take place at Pride) is particularly insightful. Their aim is larger than identitarian politics. Dan Glass’s (et al) focus on systemic oppression and toxic nationalism feeds into the larger issue(s) of homonationalism, pink-washing, and state-sponsored terrorism. Thus his is a project that emphasises more than individual identitarian politics and roots out power dynamics on a structural and community level. In my opinion, it’s not enough to critique activists solely on their anger; but as you have rightly made plain, when the trajectory fails to connect to larger goals or aims, their work can often sound vague, tangential, or ‘worthless’. But we can’t be upset, per se, with activists for attempting to point out the problem. Indeed, there’s a great deal of confusion about the nature and purpose on London Pride and its increasing corporatisation, an issue that we as a community need to consider in order to determine whether we find normalisation appealing (and necessary) or/and whether we will continue to long for a queer(er) time and place.

    Srnicek and Williams (Inventing the Future, 2015) and Jodi Dean (Crowds and Party, 2016) both have fabulous discussions of movement politics and especially critiquing the failure to ‘search for a future’ in calls for change. I would absolutely recommend you look into both and would love to hear your thoughts on the dynamics of the queer/PrEP movement. I want to thank you for sharing your anger publically and loudly, as it sends shockwaves through the community — no less coming from someone leading the push for PrEP. We must continue to shift and revise our individual and community thinking. As Stuart Hall once wrote: ‘Democracy is an absolutely, bloody-unending row. People hammering the table, insisting, “Do not ask me to line up behind your banner, because that just means forgetting who I am”. That row, that sound of people actually negotiating their differences in the open, behind the collective program, is the sound I am waiting for’ (1991).

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