East London is not a Gay-Free Zone
East London working together – Gays & Muslims unite! Fight all hate
East London LGBT Pride
1pm Saturday 24 September 2011
Hackney Town Hall, Mare Street, E8 1EA.
Pride March leaves at 2pm and goes to Oxford House, Derbyshire Street, E2 6HG, for a Pride Festival from 3-7pm.
More info: www.eastlondonpride.org.uk
“This event is a celebration of the huge contribution that LGBT people make to the East London communities. We add to the richness and diversity of East London life,” said Peter Tatchell, Director of the human rights organisation, the Peter Tatchell Foundation, which is urging people to support East London Pride.
“The organisers of East London Pride have chosen to not address the Gay-Free Zone controversy, not march through the E1 area and to not stress the need for LGBT-Muslim solidarity. They fear this would stir local division. They might be right. I respect their decision.
“My quotes here do not reflect those of the East London Pride committee. They are my personal views. The official East London Pride perspective is copied below and can be seen on their website: www.eastlondonpride.org.uk
“Given the recent controversies, I believe it is very important that we reach out to the Muslim community in East London – and unite with them against Islamophobia and homophobia. Making local alliances and coalitions is the best way to conquer hate and division.
“I wish leading Muslim organisations – like the Muslim Council of Britain and the East London Mosque – had been invited to speak at the post-march festival. Since they’ve declared their opposition to homophobia, they should be invited. If these organisations and the Muslim Mayor of Tower Hamlets attended, it would send a strong, positive signal locally. Their involvement would be a powerful statement against both homophobia and anti-Muslim prejudice. It would build bridges.
“Although I proposed these invitations to the East London Pride organisers many weeks ago, they have not responded to confirm whether such invitations were sent. Whatever their decision on this issue, I respect it. East London Pride is their event, so it is up to them to decide who they invite to participate and speak.
“Despite these differing perspectives, I strongly support East London Pride and urge others to support it too.
“I will be marching with a placard reading: ‘Gays & Muslims UNITE! Fight all hate’.
“Our visible presence in East London, with a message of unity and solidarity, is the best riposte to the homophobes, fascists and fundamentalists. We oppose all hate-mongers – the BNP, EDL and far right Islamists like Muslims Against Crusades and Hizb ut-Tahrir. Let’s show the bigots that East London is not, and never will be, a Gay-Free Zone. Support East London Pride,” said Mr Tatchell.