Glasgow & West Scotland

Union quits Pride Glasgow event over 'commercialisation'

Pride Glasgow 2017 Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The main Pride Glasgow event in 2019 is a march through the city centre

A major trade union has pulled out of the Glasgow Pride march after criticising the "commercialisation" of the event.

Unite will not be taking part in Saturday's event after its Scottish LGBT+ committee said it did not agree with imposing charges on organisations to join in the demonstration.

It also criticised companies using Pride to "enhance customer reach".

The parade will travel through the city centre to the Broomielaw from 11:30.

Last year's event was marred by ticketing problems, and led to the resignation of former chief executive Alastair Smith.

Tickets to enter the charity's march this year cost LGBT+ groups £120 for a walking group or £420 for commercial organisations, while it costs £600 to have a float at the event.

Image caption Last year's Pride Glasgow event in Kelvingrove Park was criticised after ticket problems

Describing Pride as a protest, Unite Scotland's LGBT+ committee wrote: "The Pride movement started as a riot 50 years ago this year at Stonewall Inn and as we remember this, we remember those we have lost and also celebrate the gains we have made.

"Yet, for some large commercial organisations, support for LGBT equality merely extends to paying a fee for a Pride March or temporary rainbow branding to enhance their customer reach.

"Once Pride season is over, there is no wider benefit to the LGBT community."

'An opportunity'

They added: "We hear nothing about what is happening in our communities, about rising intolerance and hate crime, and the violence being perpetrated against LGBT+ citizens of our country.

"When people are abused and beaten for being themselves, the response from Pride is deafening in its silence.

"The politics has been driven from Pride by over-commercialisation and greed of those involved in making it ever-more commercial for financial gain."

Chris Tait, chairman of Pride Glasgow, said: "We think of sponsorship as an opportunity - an opportunity to help educate organisations and businesses about the Pride movement and connect them with the very community they are trying to engage, face-to-face.

Image copyright Unite
Image caption Unite has pulled out of the Glasgow pride march

"We know diversity is high on everyone's agenda and we're trying to help those organisations make their contributions meaningful and not just lip service to what they should be doing to tick a box."

"We've said it many times in the last few months and we'll say it again - the march is our main focus."

Earlier in the summer, Glasgow hosted a MardiGla march and Free Pride, which billed itself as a non-commercial alternative Pride event, held at the CCA.

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