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Sheffield Pride under fire for calling parade ‘celebration, not protest’

Sheffield Pride under fire for calling parade ‘celebration, not protest’

Sheffield Pride parade 2017

Sheffield Pride is under fire for calling its upcoming parade a ‘celebration, not protest’ and banning all ‘offensive’ placards.

The Pride event, held in England’s north, posted the warning for applicants marching in the parade this year.

On their online application form, they also state they ‘will not be accepting any applications by Political Groups for this years (sic) event.’

Girls posing for a selfie at Sheffield Pride 2017
Sheffield Pride 2017. | Photo: Tim Dennell / Flickr

Twitter user Danny posted a screenshot of the message to Twitter.

The message from Sheffield Pride reads: ‘Please note: That any group attending with Banners or Placard (sic)… will be viewed by the Parade Manager. Any that are deemed to be ‘offensive’ will not be allowed in the march.’

And then in bold, the message adds: ‘Please note, it’s a march of celebration, not protest.

Danny then wrote in the caption of the screenshot: ‘Pride will always be a protest, until the very last Queer on earth is liberated. Don’t need y’all whitewashing our entire struggle and history. Fuming.’

In a follow-up tweet, he wrote: ‘When we forget our history, we forget why we march every year. Yes we march to celebrate Queer culture and excellence but we ALSO march in solidarity with our siblings across the world who do not share that same privilege.’

Danny then added: ‘When we have queer asylum seekers being deported, when trans women of colour are being killed on the streets, when gay conversion therapies are still alive and well and queer youth are suffering every day, PRIDE WILL BE A PROTEST.’

Sheffield Pride responds

In response to the claims, Sheffield Pride told Gay Star News a restructure of the organizing committee in 2015  changed the direction of the event.

Darren Hopkinson from Sheffield Pride said: ‘We, as a committee, have always said from day one in 2008 that we accept what Prides were initially set up for and we appreciate what they were set up for.

‘But Sheffield people at a committee meeting in 2015 said to us they wanted it to be a celebration of life, celebration of equality and diversity and a place of inclusiveness.

‘That’s what we’ve provided,’ he added.

Sheffield Pride 2017
Sheffield Pride 2017. | Photo: Tim Dennell / Flickr

Hopkinson also clarified they’re specifically banning political parties from entering the parade, not all political groups. This is due to a dispute with the local council.

He then continued: ‘As regarding the vetting of placards – that is down to the abusive and swearing that was on the placards and the complaints we received.’

Hopkinson said last year, marchers came to the parade with placards with swear words like ‘Cunt’. So he clarified they’re banning offensive language.

He said: ‘So this is all via the Sheffield public and the Sheffield Advisory Group. They brought it up [to us] and they said they had quite a lot of complaints about these placards.’

‘Because we’ve addressed this, we’re getting abuse. And it is abuse that we are getting,’ he said.

He also said the board is not going to address concerns via social media until they meet next week.

‘If your Pride isn’t a protest, it’s just a party with the cops invited’

In response to the screenshot, angry Twitter users took to the social media platform to vent their frustration.

One Twitter user replied: ‘What ever happened to throwing bricks at bigoted and oppressing cops?’

Then one Twitter user wrote: ‘So cute how Pride organisers think they can make statements like this and not end up getting 10x more protesters than they would have otherwise.’

Another responded: ‘This is so terrible.’