Drag Queens Banned From Free Pride Glasgow!

It is best to go through life trying to avoid pissing off people, as many people are part of a group. These groups have been known to rear their heads and bite back at those who piss them off, which can make you look like a dickhead for doing something so ridiculous and upsetting them in the first place.

Doubting drag queen with wig frowning in theater

It’s pretty safe to say that Drag Queens are people you definitely should not upset. After all, Facebook did not fare well against them last year when they insisted that they would have to use their legal names on the site. It resulted in a huge protest on the social media site, and some drag queens even went out there and changed their names by deed poll so that they could continue to work.

However, it seems that we haven’t quite learned our lesson, as Drag Queens have now been banned from performing at the Free Pride Glasgow festival. Yet it seems the reasons behind this ban might be honourable, as it was done “in case they are ‘offensive’ to trans people.” It looks like the organisers of Free Pride Glasgow are stuck between a rock and a hard place!

Free Pride Glasgow

This pride festival should not be confused with the main event of Pride Glasgow. This event was created “as an ‘anti-commercialist’ alternative” to the event, as they hope to get back to the roots of what pride is all about, rather than focusing on selling tickets and making money.

When you think about Pride festivals around the world, you think of the pride colours, the sharing of love, and the drag queens that take the stage of many festival to entertain the masses, in between speeches of love and equality.

Well, the group had a long discussion about whether drag queens should be allowed, and it seems that the “trans and non binary caucus decided not to” have those performers present at the event.

The group went on to explain that “this does not mean that people of any gender can’t wear what they want to the event, we simply won’t be having any self-described drag acts perform at our Free Pride Event.”

Why this change?

For many, drag queens play an important part in Pride festivals around the world. In fact, many have said that drag is a “uniquely celebrated part of most Pride”, but it seems the group will not budge on this.

They said that “the decision was taken by transgender individuals who were uncomfortable with having drag performances at the event. It was felt that it would make some of those who were transgender or questioning their gender uncomfortable.”

The group were keen to make their point of view on this clear, explaining that some within the trans community see drag performances as hinging “on the social view of gender” and so they turn it into a joke. Obviously for those struggling to come to terms with their identity, this can be challenging to see.

“It was therefore decided,” the group stated, “that having no drag acts perform would be the best option as it would mean no-one would feel pressured to out themselves.”

“Political correctness gone mad”

As you might imagine, this decision has caused quite the stir. Pride Glasgow, the other big pride event in the city, spoke out about the decision, stating that “we can understand the actions behind Free Pride over the banning of Drag Performers but believe this action to be wrong and going against what an inclusive event should be about.”

In fact, it seems that Pride Glasgow had a similar discussion a few years back, but came to a very different conclusion: “we took the decision that Dragon Queens and Kings play an important part in the history of the Pride movement and should be included within the event. We used our Pride Guide to address these concerns by having a statement from Crosslynx (a Trans support organisation at the time) explaining that not everyone people would see in Drag at Pride would be Trans or represent the trans community.”

Social media has started to go mad about this announcement, with some commenting that it was “political correctness gone mad” and that “people need to get a grip”, while others stated that “Drag queens are comedians nobody actually takes what they say seriously! This is a joke”.

However, one user said “I admire their efforts to bring politics, affordability and inclusion back into Pride” but feels “they are single handedly (sic) undermining and destroying the idea and concept behind Free Pride” by excluding the Drag community that helped to kick-start the gay rights movement in the first place.

As you can imagine, social media is well and truly up in arms about this. What do you think? Are they right to ban Drag Queens from performing, or is it a step too far? Head to the Escort Scotland forum to join in the discussion, or leave a comment below with your thoughts.

Lara Mills
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