London Mayor Boris Johnson has slashed £10,000 from Soho Pride, just over a week before the event is due to take place.
Soho Pride is a smaller gay pride event in London that is based around the gay bars in Soho.
Soho Pride is one of around 20 community festivals in London that is under threat due to cuts in funding from the Mayor’s office. Other threatened events include Liberty – disability arts festival; the Jewish Simcha on the Square; Vaisakhi; Baishakhi Mela; Celebrating Sanctuary (refugee festival) and Black History Month events.
Pickled Politics blog comments “Unsurprisingly, now Boris wants to cut funding from them all [the community festivals] so they can rely on the businesses to support them. The guy is adamant on making London lifeless again.”
In a letter to the Soho Pride organisers, Boris Johnson said that the funding destined for Soho Pride would be re-directed to other LGBT causes: “Money saved from this decision will not be cut from LGBT-related projects, but is being re-invested to help facilitate a pan London campaign against homophobic bullying in schools, a cause I am sure you will agree it is vitally important to support.”
Despite the insistence that the money will be go towards other LGBT issues, London’s LGBT population should consider this a warning. After all, this is a man that vocally supported Thatcher’s Section 28 (which made the ‘promotion’ of homosexuality illegal in schools) and famously wrote: “If gay marriage was OK – and I was uncertain on the issue – then I saw no reason in principle why a union should not be consecrated between three men, as well as two men; or indeed three men and a dog.”
Writing on the Guardian’s Comment is Free blog, Richard Adam Smith notes “His record in office, after just four months, does not bode well. The withdrawal of funding for Soho Pride is not Johnson’s first snub to lesbians and gay men in London. In July, he announced he was scrapping the mayor’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender advisory panel, which was set up by Ken Livingstone in March. His predecessor’s support for an LGBT museum in London and the capital’s hosting of the Gay Games also now look likely to be quietly dropped.”