On August 19th 2017, five activists were arrested and brutalised by police for simply protesting peacefully at Glasgow Pride.
Three trans activists were arrested at the head of the march for protesting Police Scotland’s pride of place at the front of the march. They were pushed up against a fence to the point where one arrestee was unable to breathe, and constantly misgendered throughout.
One queer activist was arrested purely for holding a banner reclaiming a slur used against them. And the final arrestee? They were arrested for stepping in when police violated the rights of the activist holding the sign.
This is what the police think of queer people. This is what Glasgow Pride think of any queer who is not a cisgender male.
In allowing Police Scotland to lead the march, Glasgow Pride have allowed the police to steal from us what was originally a protest against their oppression and brutality. The events of Glasgow Pride showed us just what happens when the police are given privileges within the queer community.
They dominate. They brutalise. They steal.
ACQuee (Anti-Capitalist Queers) was formed in retaliation to these events and to the general neglect of Glasgow Pride. The extreme commercialisation of Pride has led to the event being nothing more than a homogenised cash cow, with floats being allowed from organisations and companies who have never shown a shred of support for the queer community, bar a token rainbow flag. Organisations promoted in this year’s Pride include:
-Polo Nightclub (primary sponsor of Glasgow Pride): Has a long-standing history of transphobia with numerous incidents of trans people being removed from bathrooms by security. In the past, they have also barred people entry to the club on the grounds of their disabilities.
–Tesco: Numerous reports of homophobia and transphobia, both within the workplace and perpetrated by staff members to customers. If they cannot even support their own queer staff and customers, what place do they have profiting off of our community?
-HSBC: Fired one of their senior bankers for “lewd conduct” after he was
hounded by homophobic comments from his colleagues. They denied this was discrimination.
–G4S: Employed Omar Manteen, the terrorist responsible for the Pulse shooting, and were made well aware of his extremist, racist and homophobic ideology but did nothing about it. Had a $3.5 mil discrimination lawsuit filed against them when they fired four security officers for complaining about their supervisor, who had overt homophobic and extremist tendencies and would regularly threaten LGBT+ staff. In relation to G4S’s duties regarding housing asylum seekers, it was also found to force vulnerable asylum seekers into dangerous, subpar living facilities which presented a significant risk to the health of the inhabitants. Many of these asylum seekers reported intimidation, abuse and bullying from G4S officers.
Glasgow Pride has transformed a protest against police brutality and systemic injustice into a glorified advertising board.
We will not stand for this.
Going forward, we demand:
From Police Scotland:
- To drop all charges pressed against the five activists arrested at Glasgow
- To offer financial compensation for counselling, should the victims need it, to make reparations for their traumatising actions.
- Train all staff in interacting with and communicating with the transgender community.
- Agree to not attend future pride events in uniform
- Admit full guilt and responsibility for unlawful arrests and issue a proper statement of apology which amounts to more than damage control.
From Glasgow Pride:
- To exclude organisations with histories of homophobic, transphobic, xenophobic, ableist, and/or racist practices from participating in (and therefore profiting off) Pride.
- To exclude uniformed police and military from the march, as this year’s Pride has shown us that they are still very much intent on brutalising our community when they get a chance to.
- Train all staff and volunteers in interacting with and communicating with the transgender community.
- Stop charging for after-pride events, such as entry into Glasgow Green (!) Our queer liberation should not be used as a mechanism for profit.
- Provide transparent financial reports so the queer community can ensure that their finances are not provided by homophobic, transphobic or otherwise bigoted organisations.
- Condemn the actions of Police Scotland and demand charges to be dropped.
- Address the violent attitudes of police during Pride, who rushed into using excessive force before even communicating with arrestees.
- Adjust the speed of the march to accommodate for those with disabilities.
- Offer free stalls to Trans Charities
- Investigate who within the Police force was responsible for these arrests and provide assurance that person(s) will not be involved in future Pride events.
ACQuee stands for the total reclamation of our communities and spaces from the police, from commercialisation, and from appropriation, during Pride and beyond.
We stand for intersectional solidarity across every axis. We stand with our comrades of colour against the disgusting brand of Fascism Lite displayed by organisations such as the Scottish Defence League. Our identities will not be weaponised by racists, most of whom don’t even belong to our community, to spread hate against Muslims or any other oppressed minority.
We recognise homophobia and transphobia as forms of fascism along with racism, ableism and xenophobia. Queer liberation is antifascism.
We consider ourselves proud antifascists and wholeheartedly condemn the banning of antifascist organisations from the after-Pride event during Glasgow Pride. Aside from the fact that GP doesn’t have the right to deny entry to people based on their political views, barring those fighting against fascism entry to what originated as a protest against fascist police activities is a sickening metaphor to what Glasgow Pride has become. By choosing to ban antifascist organisations, GP has created a safe space for fascists to spew their violent rhetoric, which is literally killing the most vulnerable members of our community.