LGBT+ Labour’s Pride plans met with mixed reactions amid Keir Starmer backlash from queer community

A photo showing LGBT+ Labour at Pride marching amongst a large crowd as they hold a banner that says "LGBT+ Labour"

LGBT+ Labour is facing a mixed response after announcing its participation in Pride marches across the UK this year.

On Tuesday (18 April), the group tweeted to announce the marches in Birmingham, Brighton, Manchester and London. 

“We are excited to be marching in a range of cities across the country this year,” the tweet stated. 

LGBT+ Labour works to ensure that the Labour Party and trade unions support and act in favour of LGBTQ+ rights.

The group, which has been going for more than 40 years, aided the repeal of Section 28, the delivery of civil partnerships and the passing of the Equality Act in 2010, and LGBT+ members regularly attend Pride marches on behalf of the party.

But the latest announcement has been met with negativity due to the recent actions and comments made by the Labour Party in regards to trans rights in the UK.

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One respondent said that the account choosing to lock its replies “is telling”. 

“Parties who throw LGBTQIA+ people under the bus aren’t welcome at Pride,” one commentator said.

Another tweeted: “Replies turned off because they’re fully aware this is just embarrassing.”

A third responded angrily: “I’m old enough to remember last week when your leader Kier Starmer hung out at a pro-conversion-therapy church, maybe sit this one out, you f**king hypocrites.” 

Others called the group a “joke” for its stance that trans women aren’t women. 

“Anyone who lets *any* political party, who doesn’t support the whole community, march at Pride should take a long, hard look at themselves,” another quote tweet read. 

The backlash follows Labour leader Keir Starmer’s Easter meeting with a church that holds anti-LGBTQ+ views – for a second time. 

In response, LGBT+ Labour issued a statement recommending all politicians, parties and leaders visit the “fantastic queer-inclusive churches” out there, to see “their community and charity outreach work”.

In 2021, Starmer had to issue an apology after visiting Jesus House, a church in London well-known for its anti-LGBTQ+ views.  

It isn’t the first time LGBT+ Labour has attempted to rectify the party’s actions. In January, it called for a new definition of transphobia within the Labour Party, following a string of comments from Starmer.

The petition urged the party to take immediate action to adopt a new definition and enact a “zero-tolerance” policy on transphobia.

There’s little doubt that Labour has helped move queer rights forward. In 2004, it passed the Civil Partnership Act, granting civil partnerships in the UK, while the year before, they introduced the Employment Equality (Sexual Orientation) Regulations, which made it illegal to discriminate against LGBTQ+ people at work.

LGBT+ Labour apologise

But, in 2022, LGBT+ Labour was forced to apologise for inviting “gender critical” journalist Helen Lewis to take part in a panel discussion about the legacy of Maureen Colquhoun, Britain’s first openly gay MP. 

A number of Labour groups also called for MP Rosie Duffield to have the whip removed after her comments about trans woman Eddie Izzard. In addition, Labour members told PinkNews that Starmer must fight to regain LGBTQ+ trust after Liz Truss “gifted him [the] election”.

More recently, the LGBTQ+ community has felt ostracised following the Labour Party’s lack of opposition to the government’s use of a Section 35 order. 

The UK government announced in January that it would invoke the order to block the Gender Recognition Reforms (Scotland) Bill, which had been approved by the Scottish parliament the month before. 

The bill would make the process of a person changing their legal gender easier, as well as opening up the application process to 16 and 17 year olds for the first time. 

However, only 11 Labour MPs stood against the Conservative’s blocking of the reforms.