Earlier this week, an organization called Free Glasgow Pride caused a stir by announcing that would break off from the normal Glasgow Pride festivities next month (from Aug 22-23), and start its own free event; the only difference was it would not be booking drag queens/kings to perform.
The decision was made to prevent any trans people from being offended by the concept of drag, a move that while well-intentioned, ended up discriminating against an entire community.
Fortunately, the self-described “anti-commercialist” off-shoot organization has corrected this mistake by reversing the policy and welcoming back its drag sisters and brothers.
Free Pride explained its initial decision in a statement released on its website.
Free Pride is inherently challenging; we have known that from the start. As a small organization, we disagree with the highly commercialized and depoliticized nature of mainstream Pride. Our aim continues to be to create a safe, accessible space for the most marginalized LGBTQIA people.
This issue was picked up by many famous LGBTQIA bloggers, spreading this local issue internationally. Sadly, this attracted not just fair criticism, but also an immense amount of harassing, abusive behavior. This harassment took the form of rather nasty insults and threats which were aimed at free pride organizers. This kind of abusive behavior is unacceptable.
The original decision was made because many trans members of Free Pride have had negative experiences with drag acts veering towards racism, misogyny and transphobia; the lack of contact with the drag community contributed.
After hearing out all sides of the argument in the wake of the backlash, the group realized its overly-P.C. move was undermining a genuine form of sexual and artistic expression.
We made a mistake, and we apologize.
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 color 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.
Pride in any city of the world is based on inclusiveness, and celebrating the difference of all facets of the wonderfully diverse LGBT tapestry.
Free Pride, you made the right choice. We applaud you.
Happy Pride, Scots!