Historically, Pride marks a pivotal moment for the LGBTQ+ community. In the 1960’s New York’s underground LGBTQ+ scene was constantly attacked and safe spaces raided by the police for just existing. The police were often extremely abusive and invasive to those who did not fit the social norms in regards to sexuality. This was due to rampant homophobia and a lack of understanding that existed at the time. On June 28th 1969 during a police raid in Stonewall, New York the disputes finally reached boiling point. The LGBTQ+ community fought back demanding their rights and protested against the oppression of the LGBTQ+ community. These riots and protests had a knock on effect on LGBTQ+ activism as they began fighting for legality and equality across the globe.

The first pride was held in London in 1972, hosting around 2000 protesters in response to the banning of same-sex marriage in England and Wales in 1971.  Since then laws regarding the lives of LGBTQ+ people have drastically changed including the legalisation of same-sex marriage in 2013 and same-sex couple adoption in 2002. Pride has now become more of a celebration than a protest. Sadly in recent years many cities, companies, and artists have begun to capitalise off of and exploit the annual Pride celebrations. It seems as if pride has neglected its activist roots.

This week it became very evident that pride celebrations were being capitalised on as the prices for Pride tickets were released starting at a staggering £71 for Manchester Pride and £40 for Brighton. Both events have gated off areas in which you cannot go into without a ticket and in the case of Manchester Pride, the whole “festival” is contained to a paid only area. The event is coined as a fundraiser, however, attendees were left baffled as ticket prices rose from the 2018 price of £28. It was revealed that this was due to the fact Ariana Grande would be performing at the “festival”.

Tweet from LGBTQ activism Tanya Compassions

First of all, Pride should under no circumstances be a paid event. No one should have to pay for their unchosen identity and for a safe space to exist especially within one as historically open as Pride. Without diminishing how successful Ariana Grande is and without disrespecting her connections to Manchester, she should not be headlining at an LGBTQ+ EVENT. Pride being coined as a fundraiser is a lie. Ariana’s performance has increased prices by £40 making it now inaccessible to many young LGBTQ+ people who rely on this event to openly be who they are and if ALL LGBTQ+ people cannot attend Pride then what is the point of it? Pride is now an elitist battle for tickets and capitalist event denying access to the people who need it for financial gain.

Tweets from angry LGBTQ people

Ariana Grande is a huge star who has every opportunity to visit Manchester without her and her non LGBTQ+ fans taking up space that could have been used by actual LGBTQ+ artists and people. This is a space for the LGBTQ + community to celebrate and fight for their rights. Upon these criticisms, her fans quickly came to her defence stating that she was an ally. However, it is 2019 racists marry and give birth to black people, we are fully aware that you do not have to support a movement to exploit it for your own gain. Her fans do not care where she performs, they will still go just to see her. Whether or not she is an ally or not that space she is using could be used by people who need it.

Both Manchester and Brighton Pride should look to the likes of London and Amsterdam Pride. As they provide a free space for the LGBTQ+ community to exist without extreme capitalisation. Ariana Grande fans need to stand back and listen to the LGBTQ+ community rather than speak on their behalf.