Over in Glasgow, Scotland, an alternative LGBTQ Pride celebration, Glasgow Free Pride, has come under fire after organizers chose to ban drag performances from their event.
To be clear, this is an alternative event, not connected to Glasgow’s broader Pride celebration. They, by the groups own accord, aim to use Pride as a vehicle for change outside the norm. “Pride should be free. Pride should be a protest. Pride should be accessible to all,” read’s the events about us page.
But, as you can imagine, the group has come under fire over confusion of their policy.
A response to the digital hate has been posted on their website, explaining the decision has to do with sensitivity to transgender folks who face being miss-pronouned or worse daily, and understanding the challenges the T part of LGBT faces daily.
“It was felt that it would make some of those who were transgender or questioning their gender uncomfortable. It was felt by the group within the Trans/Non Binary Caucus that some drag performance, particularly cis drag, hinges on the social view of gender and making it into a joke, however transgender individuals do not feel as though their gender identity is a joke. This can particularly difficult for those who are not out and still present as the gender they were assigned at birth. While it was discussed whether we could have trans drag acts perform, it was agreed that as it would not be appropriate to ask any prospective drag acts whether or not they identified as trans.”
A post on Glasgow Free Pride’s facebook page did clarify the group will allow trans drag performers to perform, along with some words dealing with some of the more aggressive comments they received on social media.
Our event aims to represent those underrepresented in our community, including but not limited to trans and non-binary people, women, People of colour, intersex people, asexual people and people with disabilities. As such we have decided to prioritize the needs of trans women to feel safe and included in our event. Some trans women have expressed unhappiness with cis drag performances since they broadly feel that such performances are more about entertainment (at their expense) than gender expression, in contrast to many Trans and non-binary drag performers.
Are they right to exclude a section of the LGBTQ community as such? Gay activist/journalist and youtuber Matt Baume sounded off on the issue in the level-headed way he’s know for and come up with a resolution I think a lot of folks can get behind.