FBU to march with Pride as unions back call to reclaim parade as political protest

Members of the Fire Brigades Union (FBU), including firefighters who responded to the Grenfell disaster, will be marching in the gay pride parade through London tomorrow (8 July) to show solidarity with the LGBT community.

Lucy Masoud, of the FBU in London, will be addressing members at a pre-Pride event at Soho fire station before the parade starts. She said: “We have many proud LGBT firefighters in the brigade and for them to be able to march along with their family and loved ones showing pride in their profession and community is fantastic.

“After the horrendous events of Grenfell, now more than ever we need to pay tribute to the emergency services and the important role we play in London. Pride is an excellent opportunity to do this, as well as to celebrate the LGBT community".

This year’s parade comes after the TUC LGBT annual conference today backed an FBU motion to reclaim the profile of trade unions in Pride. In recent years, the parade has faced accusations of becoming a commercialised and corporate event. The FBU motion suggested that the parade should be reclassified as a political protest.

The FBU motion, moved by FBU LGBT committee secretary Pat Carberry, argued that the “origins of Pride come from activists, many of whom were and are trade unionists, who took the brave steps to march and be visible. The event began as a Gay Pride protest but has moved to being a celebration of gay identity and whilst we should celebrate who we are, our LGBT+ community still must fight to achieve acceptance and inclusion as well as defending progress from those who want to turn back the clock.”

Yannick Dubois, chair of the FBU’s LGBT committee, said: “Pride is still an amazing and important event for the LGBT community in London but it has lost its way. However, let’s all have a great day tomorrow and remember the activists who made it possible in the first place. LGBT rights have come a long way in recent years but there is still so much to do and much to fight for.” 

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