In a devastating blow to the capital’s premier LGBTQ+ event, DIVA magazine has dramatically withdrawn their support for Pride in London.
The Pride organisation has been riven with allegations of racism over recent years; several BAME volunteers have resigned including Director of Communications Rhammel Afflick. Writing on medium.com, Mr Afflick said, “Within the leadership, there is an unfortunate reluctance to accept that the liberation of LGBT+ people must be coupled with the fight against sexism, ableism, racism and other forms of unacceptable discrimination.
“This reluctance has been evident through a series of decisions taken by Pride in London’s leadership. These decisions are detrimental to all our communities but in particular to Black LGBT+ people.
“I’ve also personally witnessed the leadership’s insistence on ignoring Black voices in our communities and amongst our own volunteers when they speak up and speak out. I cannot and will not condone Pride in London’s insistence on finding reasons to look the other way.”
Linda Riley, publisher of DIVA, has called for a total overhaul of Pride in London’s management structure, including the immediate resignation of co-chair Michael Salter-Church.
Writing in divamag.co.uk, Ms Riley said, “I have taken the difficult but unavoidable decision to withdraw DIVA’s support for the Women’s Stage in Leicester Square, a space that we fought for and were proud to put our name to.
“With the help of lesbian and bi volunteers at Pride In London, DIVA worked hard to place women left, right and centre of the Pride In London celebrations over the past four years, and we brought the Women’s Stage from the comparative backwater of Soho Square to the centre of the Pride action.
“But I cannot in all conscience continue to lend the DIVA name to an event which has consistently failed in its duty to include everyone in the LGBTQI+ community. And so, to be absolutely clear, as well as no longer lending the DIVA name to the Women’s Stage, we will no longer have an official presence in the parade which we were so proud to lead in 2019.”
Allegations of racism at Pride in London date back to at least 2018 when Stonewall withdrew their support and UK Black Pride, formerly allied to the organisation, made the decision to operate independently.