As a Pride Committee we are saddened to hear members of the York Conservative Party don’t feel they can return this year, as they have done in previous years. York LGBT Pride strives to be fully inclusive and this extends to politics.
We invite all local political organisations that have a sitting York MP or democratic representation on the City of York Council to have a stall at our event.
We aim to provide a well balanced, representative, meaningful and enjoyable event for all and, at this point in time, we as a Committee feel removing or excluding party politics from our event would be detrimental and create more issues that it would solve.
Right to free speech
Our event is widely recognised for being safe and family-friendly and the experience of attendees is overwhelmingly positive.
Last year, our event fell a few days after the UK General Election and news had just broken that the (National) Conservative Party was entering into a coalition with the DUP, which has record of not supporting LGBT rights.
Northern Ireland remains the only part of the UK and Ireland without marriage equality. This coalition appears to have been the catalyst for the verbal protests that took place around the Conservative stall at York Pride 2017.
If the LGBT+ community cannot air their dissatisfaction with such a coalition and exercise their right to free speech and protest at a Pride event, where can they?