UK: Open letter to the gay press on EuroPride 2006

T. Tauqir, Dr. J. Haritaworn, RG and SK
EuroPride 2006 was billed as a Pride of diversity. Watching the morning march, with its float of gay Muslim groups Safra & Imaan, and Beit Klal Yisrael, Black Lesbians UK, as well as trans, BDSM, & many other groups, the diversity motto seemed convincing.
By the afternoon, however, we were painfully reminded that what most of the Pride goers were marching for was a 'safe space' that was highly unsafe for people of colour.
England had come to its end of 2006 World Cup attempt and swarms of English fans charged along Charing Cross road shouting and taking on the police. We were four Queer Asian women and decided to turn back into a 'safer' Soho to avoid the troubled area and decided to get a taxi home.

As we were climbing into the cab, two white Queer boys started taunting us, "bloody Indians" and "cunts". Judging from their accents, one was English and the other European. They pushed against us and tried to follow us into the cab. When we managed to close the door, they threw beer at us through the window, catching us all, including my partner who wears a headscarf as part of her Muslim identity.

The cabbie, an older black man, along with my partner called the police. Meanwhile we were assaulted with an onslaught of verbal threats, spitting and pushing. The police arrived and one attacker snuck off leaving the other to face the police. The police questioned him and then hearing the witness account of the cabbie and not wanting to be remembered as the Met officers that arrested Queer boys at Pride decided it was enough to ask the attacker to apologise, which he first refused and resulted in him being cuffed. He then made a half hearted apology and we left in the cab.

In the heart of Soho none of the Pride goers showed solidarity with us. None of us were Indian; all of us were European; yet we had no place in this EuroPride where white Europeans from different countries could bond against the "bloody Indians". The queer "community" should really ask itself whether it is proud of its racism, or whether it is high time to translate the diversity rhetoric into some serious allied action.

T. Tauqir, Dr. J. Haritaworn, RG and SK