SSY at Pride 2024

The SSY is calling for a radical Pride fighting for trans healthcare and free Palestine. Join us in Edinburgh on 22 June.
SSY Pride 2024

2024 has been a bad year for the LGBTQ+ community in Scotland and the rest of the UK. Transgender people have been the targets of a continuous, hysterical offensive by the Tories against our civil rights and healthcare. Culture war panics are whipped up by politicians on an almost weekly basis to play to the most reactionary sentiments in society against the gains won by trans people through decades of campaigning. 

Trans healthcare for children has been totally gutted, a policy decision that will only serve to push a generation of transgender kids back into the closet and facilitate the social murder of young people whose mental and emotional wellbeing depends on access to gender-affirming care. 

Furthermore, the state of trans healthcare for adults on the NHS is abominable. The meagre scraps we do have don’t go far enough, and even those are in jeopardy. Waiting lists are laughably long, and the route to prescription gender-affirming care is gatekept by inept gender identity clinics which impede what ought to be a simple, straightforward process. The system is just not fit for purpose, and the fact the NHS is in ruins after years of austerity does not help. Meanwhile, Kemi Badenoch dreams of segregating our access to essential services, and the prospect of Gender Recognition reform in Scotland is now a distant dream, voted for by Holyrood but shut down by Westminster.

Of course, the Tories will not be the governing party much longer, but it’s hard to look on their successors with much enthusiasm. On the issue of trans liberation, the Labour Party have gladly followed the Tories down the culture war path. Keir Starmer, Wes Streeting, and others in the party leadership continue to echo Tory talking points on transgender people and back away from commitments inherited from Jeremy Corbyn’s time. There is little we can expect of the Labour Party in government. And as for the other mainstream party here in Scotland, the fact that Kate Forbes is now the deputy first minister should give anyone who wants to uphold queer rights second thoughts about voting for the SNP.

What kind of carefree party parade could we have in times like this? There’s a general election, but the big parties don’t care about us. Indeed, they prefer to speak for, and act on behalf of, people who want our civil rights and healthcare revoked. This is bad enough, but it isn’t the only reason that we aren’t in the mood for celebrating this Pride Month.

Our eyes are on Rafah, Al-Mawasi, Bureij. Day after day we’ve seen how the UK government has been complicit in the ongoing genocide of the Palestinian people. British-made bombs and weaponry are playing an active part in the daily slaughter of Palestinians by the Israeli military, and British investments are funding and profiting from the horror. The arms profiteers responsible for this have sponsored and attended Pride events regularly for years, hoping to plaster a friendly gay face over the piles of corpses the empire leaves in its wake. 

Plenty of us were already angry about this. Slogans against rainbow capitalism are a common refrain on the radical margins of Pride marches, to the point where we angry gays are all a bit sick of repeating ourselves. But the slogans are still correct, and the corporations still drip with blood. 

Just look at Edinburgh Pride. One of the sponsors this year was the insurance and asset management company Aegon, which invests over $564m with companies in illegal settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. Thanks to a campaign of public pressure, Aegon have now been dropped as a sponsor. This is a fantastic start, but Aegon must not be the only, apartheid-supporting corporation to be kicked out of Pride. This year, of all years, we cannot let the war profiteers go unopposed. 

We in the Scottish Socialist Youth will be intervening in Pride marches this year in protest against this sorry, sick state of affairs. We fully support all attempts to get Prides to divest from companies that fund Israeli apartheid and genocide. We ask everyone reading this to get behind any similar divestment campaigns to the one against Aegon. 

On 22 June, we will be joining the Radical Bloc at Edinburgh Pride with the aim of uniting together as many pissed-off queer people as we can to politicise Pride and raise the battle cry over trans liberation and Palestinian freedom. We want to organise a movement of queer youth that can lead the counterattack against the Tory/Labour culture war, win healthcare which actually responds to and serves our needs, and play an active part in dismantling the imperialist war-machine.

On 22 June, we will be gathering along with the Radical Bloc at 12:30 near the Scottish Parliament for the Edinburgh Pride March. Join the Radical Bloc and march with us! 

Our Bodies, Our Choice! Queer Youth Fight Back!

Arms Traders Out Of Pride – We Don’t Want Your Genocide!


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