Free Pride for all! (Unless you’re a drag, of course)

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No drags permitted at Free Pride .

Is this is not a malicious act, excluding an oft marginalised group of people and likely to offend?

Some may seek to defend this actions of Free Pride by arguing that there is no malicious intent, but the intent is irrelevant. In no other situation would we be expected to forgive someone who had hurt us, simply because they did not “mean” it. It is deplorable that an organisation which seeks to celebrate the LGBT+ community and its strides for liberation has thought it acceptable to use such an oppressive and ostracising measure. A measure that isolates and oppresses many within the LGBT+ community.

We call on the organisers of the event and its promoters to issue a sincere apology and commit to no longer excluding drags from future events.

To support our demands you can contact Free Pride on Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/freeprideglasgow

Twitter: @PrideNotProfit

“Blackface” or face facts?

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Is this the ugly face of racism in 2015? Is it an offensive representation of an oppressed minority designed to spread hatred and incite discrimination?

No, of course not.

It is the talented work of make-up artistry to create striking and beautiful imagery using the human form as a canvas for a creative exploration into the abstract and original.

I commend the Icon Awards , headed up by the brilliant Michael Xtina Macfarlane for using this imagery to help promote the LGBTIQ recognition of achievements event. An event designed to celebrate diversity, revel in our differences and bring us together through our shared interests and passions to wish to live in a vibrant, tolerant, open-minded and colourful Scotland.

I also commend the organisers for not bowing down, or pandering, to the possibility that some idiot somewhere might deem the fact that black body make-up is used as a racist act. None of us should ever have to fear the wrath of the mis-guided bullies who put more effort into causing the problems they aim to help than actually trying to solve them.

Let’s begin with a few (very) basic facts:

– black people are not actually the colour black.
– black people do not have black palms.
– black people do not have gold-tipped fingers, nor golden lips.

Again. Some idiot. Somewhere.

Sure. I am a white (well, actually some shade of pink, depending on how much fake tan I am wearing at any given time) man.

Maybe I am therefore not the best qualified to discuss the oppression, perceived or otherwise, of afro-carribbean people. But I suspect that neither particularly is a caucasian Scottish lesbian – not that any of these negate anyone from being able to comment, of course.

However, I’ve had just a little bit of exposure (indirectly and directly) to what ACTUAL racism really is, as having been:

– a lover to 6 people who would describe themselves as either black, asian or mixed-race, including my current partner (they are, FYI, half-tunisian, half-Haitian, Barbadian, 2 Jamaicans and one Bengali).
– a foster son who is Pakistani
– a niece who is half-Chinese
– a teacher in several schools in inner and outer London, all of which where white students were a minority.
– founder of the school’s Jewish Society (I’m not even Jewish!)
– Head of Citizenship and PSHE where tackling racism and other forms of discrimination were an important part of the curriculum.
– not to mention the single-most important motivation for me having chosen to study Politics at university and drove me to be involved in social change was when I learnt about the Holocaust in school at the age of 13.

I will not be lectured to about racism by some jumped-up, small-minded, militants with a few too many chips on their shoulders and time on their hands from the EUSA who shamefully pull out the race card in an attempt to bring them and their associated Free Pride event a little publicity boost. (https://eusaliberation.wordpress.com/2015/07/13/eusa-bme-liberation-group-statement-on-the-use-of-blackface-by-the-icon-awards/)

It is pathetic, sickening and immensely depressing that people like myself, who are passionate about fighting the ugly face of racism in all its forms, who have worked tirelessly in schools and in the media to tackle discrimination and hatred and yet produce a (thankfully) minority of moronic young people who have zero understanding of identifying real racism when it occurs, but waste their time, efforts and brain cells on attempting to whip up controversy and irresponsibly banding certain acts ‘racist’ when nothing could be further from the truth.

I encourage social change.

I welcome activism from all people, students or otherwise.

I always believe that you must question everything and not just accept things the way they necessarily are.

But make your objections mean something. Make them worthwhile. Take on a fight that really exists against a threat and an enemy that needs to be defeated. Don’t light fires of hatred and create divisions where only tolerance and peace exist. Your ignorance about the real, lived experiences of racism and your attempts to promote an agenda of bitterness through twisted, mis-guided interpretations of what is and what is not racist, not only demonstrate the depths you are prepared to go to raise a little publicity for yourself and your cause(s), but also show you to be nothing more than a bully, prepared to impose your warped version of racial ‘harmony’ on people who have significantly more understanding and, in many cases, experiences of what it is or isn’t, than you could ever begin to appreciate.

Its not because you’re white that I consider your contribution to the race debate irrelevant, for we all have a responsibility to identify and tackle REAL racism when and where it occurs.

Its because you’re an idiot.