Over the past couple of years, I have been noticing a worrying pattern of behaviour amongst a number of LGBT people, who seemingly take offence to absolutely everything and cry outrage at the drop of a hat.

Whether it’s being offended over the naming of a road, the use of the word queer, or the inclusion of UKIP in a Pride parade, I often feel much of this ‘outrage’ is unnecessary and rarely take offence to things myself. Sometimes we need to lighten up a bit and consider the bigger picture. However, on hearing the news that Free Pride Glasgow have banned cis drag performers, I am on the side of those who are outraged at the decision.

I had not heard of Free Pride Glasgow until the news of their drag ban was posted all over Twitter. After doing a bit of research on the event, on one hand I admire what they’re about. I organise a Pride event myself and do my best to ensure it’s not a commercial event. It’s all about the community and I feel that Prides should be free events that are accessible to all. However, on the other hand, I feel that Free Pride Glasgow are a bit militant in their views and the way they are going about things. For starters, putting their event on the same day as the mainstream Glasgow Pride is a bit confrontational. Then, of course, we come to the decision to ban cis drag performers from being a part of Free Pride Glasgow.

Drag Queens are a huge part of our history and culture. Without Drag Queens we wouldn’t have many of the freedoms we take for granted today. The Stonewall riots in the 60s were started by Drag Queens and for that reason we have much to thank them for. To ban cis drag performers is to ignore a large part of our culture. I genuinely feel that the organisers of Free Pride Glasgow should be ashamed of themselves. It doesn’t appear to be in the spirit of being ‘free’, nor in the spirit of Pride.

Pride festivals need to be inclusive of all people, whether they be lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans*, cis, non-cis, straight, black, white, purple, orange or anything else. They should be open to anybody who wants to celebrate diversity and our rich LGBT culture, and that should extend to entertainers. Banning cis drag performers makes Free Pride Glasgow an exclusive event, not an inclusive one.

A solution to this situation would be for Free Pride Glasgow to allow cis drag performers to be a part of their event, but to have them perform in a specific drag area like some other Pride events do. That way, those who are not offended by cis drag artists can see them perform, and those who are offended by cis drag artists don’t have to see them.

There are clearly ways around this that would benefit everyone. However, Free Pride Glasgow are choosing to bow to pressure from one section of our community and alienate a whole other section in the process. The organisers are doing nothing to further our cause by taking this action. In fact, they are contributing to a divide in our community that I fear is growing at a time when we all need to be on the same side. For that, they should be ashamed of themselves.

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