With all the lockdown restrictions, the huge annual gathering that is London Pride is an obvious no-no. Last year 1.5 million crammed into a couple of square miles of the centre of the city, not what the doctor ordered right now.
So in a spirit of trying to make up for the lack of dancing, gyrating and excess consumption (with added rainbows and many hundredweight of glitter) a group of entrepreneurial types got together and set up Virtual Pride 2020. The idea was to fill 14 hours of entertainment online next Saturday to try and try and lift the spirits of the LGBT+ community in the British Isles. But it has been cancelled in a classic modern, online political sting operation.
As they put it
“Virtual Pride will feature 14 hours of FREE performances live-streamed from the artist’s home…
With a lack of LGBT+ parades and marches on our streets this summer, Virtual Pride offers a platform for the LGBT+ community to come together this May”.
The message was picked up by the community with alacrity, up and down the country, groups that normally organized their own marches and events in their own towns came out in support and all was going well for the event. Within a few weeks dozens of entertainers had volunteered their support, including global stars such as Danni Minogue, Sonia, Andrew Lloyd Webber, London Gay Men’s Chorus, and Ru Paul’s Drag Race UK favourite Divina De Campo.
Amongst figures who were going to speak at the event included, LGBT veteran Campaigner, Peter Tatchell and former TV star and politician Lord Michael Cashman CBE.
Then with less than a fortnight to go, a so-called gay activist decided to destroy all the hard work and effort. Indulging in a spot of offence archeology this activist unearthed the horrifying fact that one of Virtual Pride’s directors had liked a tweet by journalist, educator, and latterly free speech advocate and bete noir of the new left, Toby Young. But there was worse, far worse. This unnamed individual had shown his support for, whisper it quietly, Nigel Farage.
On the basis that a director of Virtual Pride had supported Brexit, (like a significant number of LGBT + individuals across the country – Farage’s Brexit Party at last year’s European Elections returned more LGBT+ Euro-MPs than any other party in the entire European Union) this dusty evidence from twitter was presented to the publisher of Diva Magazine, Linda Reily. The magazine is the biggest voice for Lesbian and bisexual women in the UK and had hitherto supported the project, but now, armed with this devastating news – a director of Virtual Pride didn’t share her politics and the politics that is demanded of the LGBT+ community in the UK she went on the attack.
From what she claims she pulled her own support, and in the ensuing discussion she was described as a ‘political bigot’ for storming out of the event.
According to the organisers,
“We were privately discussing this issue with a leading LGBT+ campaigner (Ms Reily)– who has affiliations with a leading LGBT+ publication – and learnt they wanted to drop out of the event because a member of our team has a political opinion about Brexit that is shared by a politician who has other opinions about sexuality. When accused of political bigotry they then took to their personal Twitter account to begin a smear campaign against Virtual Pride”.
Things then got very unpleasant as many of the performers and organisations who were volunteering their time found themselves “advised” to distance themselves from the event. The LGBT+ performers in the past have found their bookings and income streams dry up if they dare step away from the proscribed political positions of some in the community, and Virtual Pride found itself hemorrhaging support.
“The festival director is not and will never be apologetic for his political persuasion or for supporting Brexit. He remains incredibly passionate about the LGBT+ community and views these as two separate things”
The question is raised however what on earth these so-called campaigners for LGBT+ rights are trying to achieve? Is is to support the community, all the community, or is it some for of ideological purity, where every act and decision s seen through the twisted and frankly authoritarian glass of a twisted political vision?
Those whose currency is merely to destroy rather than build have had a field day here, by tearing down, rather than by building up they have successfully ended a lot of fun for a lot of people, they have succeeded in blocking funds for LGBT+ charities, just at a time when the need for support is at is greatest. And they have instilled greater fear amongst Brexit supporting LGBT+, a real minority within a minority.
As the organisers pointed out, “We feel a small number of members from our community need to seriously consider if this is worth it? Who wins? This #CancelCulture has to stop and yet again another organiser is deemed not good enough. We need to #BeKind and work together and remember what truly matters.”
It appears for some kindness only stretches to those who share their own political persuasion.
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