Given my homosexuality, ethnicity, and total disdain for Ukip, it might come as a surprise that I think they should be allowed to join this year’s London LGBT Pride. Since their application to send members was accepted, there has been a considerable backlash from the LGBT community and its allies towards the event's organisers – shouldn't I be joining them?
The answer is no: I completely refuse to. The day we start to ban legitimate political parties from public events is a dangerous one. Rightly or wrongly, Ukip secured just under 4m votes at last month’s UK General Election. With these numbers, many LGBT people will have voted for the party and its leader.
The LGBT community should rise up, and be bigger than hate and intolerance. This means allowing Ukip to march, and being graceful about it. We have to show others that as LGBT people we are truly about inclusiveness and not exclusiveness, or it undermines our fight.
I have much of the same contempt for Ukip as I do for other British political parties, but I’m yet to hear any of them being banned from such celebrations of our way of life. I was at Birmingham Pride just a couple of weekends ago, and wouldn't be at all surprised if out of the many people there, there were some who support Ukip. Did it stop those who don’t support the party from having a good time though? No. Unless Ukip is promising to actually harm us – which they're not – they should be allowed to participate in London.
Ukip gaffes and controversies
Ukip gaffes and controversies
1/18 European elections poster
Party's latest EU election posters branded 'racist' and compared to BNP campaigns
2/18 Farage 'car-crash' interview
Ukip spin doctor forced to intervene as Farage falters in disastrous radio interview
3/18 Neil Hamilton
Picture Exclusive: The year is 1998. The venue is a Springbok Club meeting. The flag is a symbol for white supremacists in South Africa. And the speaker is Ukip’s deputy chairman, Neil Hamilton
4/18 Kerry Smith
Kerry Smith resigned as would-be MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock after it emerged he had mocked gay party members as “disgusting poofters”, joked about shooting people from Chigwell in a “peasant hunt” and referred to someone with a Chinese name as a “Chinky bird”
5/18 Natasha Bolter
Former Ukip member Natasha Bolter was suspected of not having the teaching qualifications she professed to, only days after it was revealed that claims of her having attended Oxford University were also false
6/18 Ukip Calypso song
Mike Reid released a single in praise of UKIP trying to control the UK's borders, only to withdraw the single after being accused of racism for singing in a Jamaican accent
7/18 Janice Atkinson
Janice Atkinson, Ukip's South East chair, pictured by protesters while campaigning in Ashford, Kent with local party chair Norman Taylor
8/18 Ukip cancels Freephone
Ukip cancels Freephone number after protesters repeatedly called to push up costs
9/18 Farage 'car-crash' interview
Mr Farage appeared to be caught out on a number of issues, from Romanian neighbours to people speaking foreign languages on the train
10/18 Ukip employs illegal immigrants
Ukip criticised after European election candidate found employing illegal immigrants
11/18 Magnus Nielsen
Ukip candidate: 'Take away the right to vote to improve election turnout'
12/18 Poster model
A “British builder” portrayed in a Ukip poster accusing EU workers of taking UK jobs turns out to be an Irish actor - aka a migrant worker
13/18 'Arrest protesters'
Ukip called for police to arrest protesters ‘who call us fascists’ ahead of showdown with anti-fascist groups in Brighton
14/18 London Live make-up
Ukip's Nigel Farage reportedly refused to go on London Live 'without professional make up-artist'
15/18 Andre Lampitt
Ukip forced to suspend the "poster boy" of its European election broadcast, after it was revealed he had posted a series of vile racist comments on Twitter
Nigel Farage says he is taking taking legal advice over “outrageous” allegations that he is responsible for more than £50,000 of “missing” EU funding that was paid directly into his personal bank account
17/18 Have I Got News For You
Nigel Farage appears in Have I Got News For You, spends the entire episode being ridiculed over expenses and party 'fruitcakes'
18/18 Anti-gay comments
Local branch chairman for Ukip defends a party's councillor candidate Douglas Denny who called gay people “abnormal” and said he wished “they stop trying to ram it down my throat”, all while discussing whether the word “sodomite” should be used
Pride is about politics, but not this sort. Many forget that the first pride was actually a riot. People demanded that their voices as LGBT people were heard, and came out to show they weren't ashamed of who they were. They accepted everyone – they didn't exclude people because of their political beliefs, even if they clashed with their own.
If the London Pride Board rescinds Ukip’s right to march, then this will be a sad day for our democracy and cause. Let them attend, and give people the chance to engage with them, and have a dialogue. If you really disagree with someone, this is the best chance you have to change their minds – in other words, treating them like humans.Reuse content