Pride Sheffield faces anger after banning political activists and claiming march is ‘not a protest’

Pride Sheffield is under fire over guidelines that insist the event is “a celebration, not a protest” and warns LGBT activists against carrying “controversial” political signs.

The Pride event came under scrutiny over the rules for marchers at its LGBT+ Pride 2018, which is set to take place on July 28.

An information sheet distributed to participating groups sets out the rules, warning : “Please note that any groups attending with banners or placard will be viewed by the Parade Manager, any that are deemed to be ‘offensive’ will not be allowed in the March.

“Please note, it’s a march of celebration, not protest.”

The event’s website also specifies that it “will not be accepting any applications by Political Groups for this years [sic] event”, though political activists have marched on a number of occasions previously.

The apparent restrictions on political protest at the Pride event have led to anger from local LGBT activists.

PinkNews understands that a group of activists are planning to protest the running of the Pride event.

Two teens cuddle at Sheffield Pride (Creative Commons photo/Flickr user Jo Jakeman)

The news has led to mockery of the event online, given the radical roots of modern Pride parades in the Stonewall riots.

One Twitter user wrote: “HEY GUYS LETS JUST FORGET THE ENTIRE HISTORY AND FOUNDATION OF PRIDE?! What the actual fuck @PrideSheffield ??

“Pride will always be a protest, until the very last Queer on earth is liberated. Don’t need y’all whitewashing our entire struggle and history. Fuming.

“Pride is political. It is a protest. Pride is about fighting for our trans siblings being murdered in the streets. Its about marching in solidarity with those trapped in Chechnian death camps.

“Pride is not just a blind celebration to find your next hookup.”

Another added: “Pride in its own existence is a show of protest, a political action, and a show of unity, strength and defiance. A celebration, yes, but of who the LGBTQ+ community are, how far we’ve come, and of sticking together to challenge adversity.”

A couple wrapped in rainbow flag takes part in a Pride parade (PATRICIA DE MELO MOREIRA/AFP/Getty Images)

The guidelines on the letter are signed by Darren Hopkinson, Event Manager.

Asked for a statement, Hopkinson told PinkNews: “It’s the same group of people every time we have an issue who we have have problems with.

“We are currently working with our lawyers to take action against those who have created all this drama for no reason.”

He initially claimed “we did not put that statement out” and denied to PinkNews that it was genuine, adding that “legal action is now being taken.”

However PinkNews has obtained a copy of the full guidance sent out, and Hopkinson later appeared to confirm to other publications that the guidance was genuine.