Pride event BANS drag queens in case they are offensive

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a white background.

A Pride event in Scotland has banned all drag queens from performing – in case they are “offensive” to trans people.

Free Pride Glasgow – which was set up as an “anti-commercialist” alternative to the main Pride Glasgow event – made the decision ahead of the event next month, claiming that despite drag being a uniquely celebrated part of most Prides, they would not be welcome to perform at Free Pride.

A statement from the group claimed: “After much discussion, the trans and non-binary caucus decided not to have drag acts perform at the event.

“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 on the 22nd August. We hope people can understand and support our decision. However we feel it important to fully explain why we came this decision.

“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.”

It continued: “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.

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

In a response to the group’s creation, Pride Glasgow said: “We can understand the actions behind Free Pride over the banning of Drag Performers but believe this to action to wrong and going against what an inclusive event should be about.

“As an organisation Pride Glasgow had a similar discussion back in 2010 over how drag could cause discomfort to people however we took the decision that drag queens and kings play an important part in the history of the Pride movement and should be included within the event, so 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.

“Pride Glasgow believes that any community group should be given their place to flourish but that success should not be built on the negativity and ignorance towards other events, groups and like minded people and we are saddened to see that this is the direction that Free Pride has chosen to take.”

The National Union of Students previously voted on a motion to enforce a “zero tolerance” approach to drag and cross-dressing at all student union events.

It claimed in part: “Transphobic fancy dress should be met with the same disdain with which we meet other prejudiced or appropriative costumes.

“Conference resolves to issue a statement condemning the use of ‘cross-dressing’ as a mode of fancy dress.

“Conference resolves to amend the NUS Zero Tolerance Statement policy to cover all NUS events and conferences; and to encourage Unions to ban clubs and societies from holding events which permit or encourage (cisgender) members to use ‘cross-dressing’ as a mode of fancy dress.”