Free Pride organisers RETURN funding from The National Lottery after it donates to ‘anti-trans’ group the LGB Alliance

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Free Pride in Glasgow is returning money to The National Lottery for supporting anti-trans organisations

 

Organisers of Free Pride in Glasgow, an inclusive annual Pride event which celebrates LGBTQ+ culture and history, have announced plans to return funding to The National Lottery Community Fund (NLCF) following its decision to donate to controversial trans-exclusionary group the LGB Alliance.

 

In June, it was revealed that NLCF had approved funding for the LGB Alliance which, given its aggressively non-inclusive position with regards to trans people, caused major backlash online.

 

The funding was to be put towards a “helpline for lesbian, gay and bisexual people and their families and friends”, a prospect which raised alarm bells for many on social media, given their previous statements around gender identity and amidst increasing speculation that the majority of LGB Alliance subscribers are not, in fact, gay, lesbian or bisexual.

 

Old LGB Alliance tweet, reshared in April

 

 

While numerous others pointed out that there are several safe, reputably LGBTQ-inclusive, phonelines already available to vulnerable individuals in need of support and questioned whether having one manned by an organisation that is publicly ‘gender-critical’ could be a cause for grave concern.

 

In a statement shared to social media (August 8), Free Pride officials have now said:

 

“Last year, Free Pride received funding from The National Lottery Community Fund. After five years of relying entirely on community donations, receiving funding enabled us to run a bigger, better equipped event and pay the artists and community members we worked with fairly.”

 

“This year we applied for funding again and were successful, however we were extremely disappointed to learn that The National Lottery had also decided to fund the LGB Alliance to run a ‘helpline’ for LGB Youth.”

“The LGB Alliance are a transphobic hate group, and Free Pride has always been an event that has put trans people at its centre. We cannot accept funding from an organisation that is also funding transphobic activities and bigotry”, the statement continued.

 

“We have returned our funding to The National Lottery and have sent a letter of complaint to the CEO and Scotland Director, asking them to reverse their decision to fund the LGB alliance. This does mean that we cannot run Free Pride at its usual scale this year.”

 

“We’re sorry to the members of our community who will be disappointed by this”, they added, then saying, “We’ll be organising a smaller get together for later in the summer & will share details soon, but wanted to keep you updated.”

 

Despite the sizable backlash online following NLCF’s decision to financially endorse a group that supports conversation therapy for trans people, the organisation doubled-down on its position, telling Pink News, ““We are satisfied that this project meets our eligibility criteria for funding. All projects we fund must adhere to equalities legislation and the terms and conditions for each grant.”

 

In a more detailed explanation (which you can read in full by clicking here), Free Pride event organisers said:

“LGB Alliance actively seeks to exclude trans people from LGBTQ spaces and services, and has consistently sought to misrepresent trans people and trans experiences via their campaigns and communications.”

 

“They have campaigned against trans-specific healthcare for young trans people, against a ban on conversion therapy for young trans people, and against improved protections for trans people in UK policy and law.”

 

Social media users have been left wondering about the vetting process for the communities it funds

 

“They have actively contributed to scare-mongering about trans people in the UK. This is a tactic which we know has real impact, particularly when we consider the alarming increase in rates of violence against trans people in the UK over the last few years.”

 

“They have consistently misrepresented services supporting young trans people, and incited harassment of trans people and their allies online.”

 

The statement goes on to say they are “disheartened and confused by the TNLCF’s decision to fund the LGB Alliance”, further explaining that they are “very conscious of lending legitimacy to this decision by TNL”, which then urge them to overturn.

 

Free Pride Glasgow Pride is a Protest
Free Pride Glasgow (Image via glasgowwestend.co.uk)

 

The statement closes off with organisers saying it’s “extremely disappointing that a genuinely grassroots, inclusive queer event will not be taking place due to TNL’s decision to fund a transphobic project.”

 

Free Pride, like many Pride events across the world, has not been entirely without controversy. In 2015 they decided not to book drag acts to perform at the annual event. The decision, which was seemingly made with good but flawed intentions, was made in light of some feedback over not alienating any potential trans attendees who might be struggling to come to terms with their gender identity.

 

While they specified that drag performers or people in drag, or any attire they wanted for that matter, were welcome at the event, the restriction only applied to booked performers.

 

The event – which is not affiliated with Glasgow Pride – quickly reversed its decision amidst backlash over the call, and days later said “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.”

“We made a mistake, and we apologize”, they said.

 

Despite the blip of seven years ago, it’s a bold but commendable decision to return funding at the expense of your event, when it means honouring your principals.

 

Comments on the post were turned off for obvious reasons but some shared their gratitude at the decision, with one saying, “I’m glad you took this stance, I hope you get enough money to do the Pride you wanna”

 

While another said “Thank you for taking a stand for trans humans.”

 

 

CULTURE

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