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by Miss Cairo
We have hit June, the sun is out, and there’s an air of excitement for the Pride parade in London on 27 June. Bars and clubs are selling event tickets, drag queens are announcing their gigs and the acts of silencing within our community are on the rise.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I feel that Pride, at its core, is a great opportunity to celebrate the momentous occasion of the Stonewall Riots and to celebrate our LGBT history. It’s also an opportunity to concentrate on how we want to continuously push forward to obtain equality for all people on the sexuality and gender spectrum. No doubt there will be people enjoying the party atmosphere, extortionate entrance prices and venues which don’t actively support LGBT rights cashing on in the Pink Pound … And there is no denying that that’s how our economy works, but my issues lies much further than monetary success for the event.
Pride has officially announced it’s lineup for the cabaret stage at Dean Street, and I was mortified to read that of the 24 acts only one is a person of colour (the incredible Dean Atta). Approximately 44% of Londoners are Black or ethnic minorities, and so I’m shocked that there isn’t a more accurate representation of our city.
I shared the lineup on my Facebook profile and was so upset to see how many people were justifying this instead of asking what we could do to make things better. I had many people say that maybe hardly any POCs put themselves forward to perform – without considering that maybe the event isn’t inclusive enough for people to feel comfortable subjecting themselves to the white bias which is so apparent within our community.
I also know one particular performer, Sadie Sinner, has had an active dialogue with the event coordinators about racial bias. According to her, there are those at London Pride who have agreed that there needs to be fairer representation. I have also had conversations with members of the board and have tweeted Pride about making sure the event isn’t white-, cisgender- and male-led as usual – so I have no idea how this slipped through the net. Even after dialogues with the board it’s hard to get out of my head that there is either someone involved who is against having ethnic minorities on the bill, or that someone who is managing this event based around diversity is just ignorant of inequality.
I have witnessed people accuse POCs of ‘holding up a race card’ when discussing this. It’s a passive attempt at silencing us and invalidating the injustice we experience, and it’s time that people started trying to help fix the imbalance as opposed to trying to make us sound like vigilantes. It’s interesting that we have Black Pride, another clear divide for white and black people, and it leaves people like me (being mixed race) stuck in the middle. Black Pride stemmed from not having a voice in London Pride, so maybe what pride needs to do is open its arms and welcome EVERYONE.
In recent news, UKIP have been told that they can no longer walk in the parade for their own protection, and London Pride have said that this was a difficult decision to make. However whilst my beliefs don’t align with them, I really feel that it is hypocritical to say who can and can’t attend an event related to inclusivity, and I feel that it’s pompous of us to turn around and say who we do and don’t need to support our cause. Other political parties haven’t been vilified for homophobic and transphobic comments that members have said, so saying that, most political parties shouldn’t partake. We should remember that we mustn’t ostracise people from our community for our beliefs – if anything, we need to work with groups like UKIP in order to help them see past their phobia.
Equality is global, it affects each and everyone of us, and I wholeheartedly believe in second chances. Surely we should be meeting UKIP with love to prove that we aren’t the Devil incarnate? Surely we should be including as many people in the event as possible as opposed to excluding them? The irony is, in fact, that people are trying to kick out a party which make anti-LGBT and racists remarks but STILL aren’t inviting POCs to the table. The struggle really is real.
As a matter of full disclosure, I am perplexed why I hadn’t been approached by the committee to perform, considering my stance on equality, but I do understand that there are a lot of us out there and not enough time on the bill. I am not writing this so I get asked to perform but because I have had my voice denied. Props to Vada Magazine for giving me a space in which to have a voice! We need to stop telling people that they are being too sensitive. Maybe if people were more aware, they would wake up to the stench of inequality and maybe do something to help change it.
About Miss Cairo
Miss Cairo is the prettiest London Queen and has been working on the cabaret and burlesque circuits for three years. Billed as The Supermodel of Norfolk, Miss Cairo plays on the shattering of illusions and common stereotypes of gender, sexual orientation, class and race.
Miss Cairo has performed extensively around England, and has been venturing into different parts of Europe and Asia, spreading her seeds of love, acceptance, tolerance and comedic timing. An aspiring model, singer, stage and screen actress, her versitility keeps the world on its toes.
Find out more about Miss Cairo at her Facebook page.
Photo credit: Nick Tucker.