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Readers' Letters

Readers' Letters

Editor's comment: Why smashed window is a better Pride display than most

PUBLISHED: 12:13 02 July 2019 | UPDATED: 12:28 02 July 2019

The smashed window display at Second Chance in St John's Way, Archway. Picture: Ali Mitib

The smashed window display at Second Chance in St John's Way, Archway. Picture: Ali Mitib

Archant

It's common to see organisations "rainbow-washing" themselves in the run-up to Pride - putting up flags or rebranding products in expressions of apparent solidarity with LGBTQ+ people, but in a way that does more to market their stock than to actually engage with the discrimination faced by our community, or to support us at other times of the year.

The smashed window display at Second Chance in St John's Way, Archway. Picture: Ali MitibThe smashed window display at Second Chance in St John's Way, Archway. Picture: Ali Mitib

That is - what do the companies wrapping their beer in rainbow-coloured plastic do to address homophobia and improve the representation of LGBTQ+ people (especially those of colour) in their workplaces?

To fight the closure of LGBTQ+ spaces?

To speak up for trans people's rights as their opponents gain in number and influence?

To campaign against the return of LGBTQ+ asylum seekers to countries where they will not be safe?

The smashed window at Second Chance in Archway. Picture: Crispin DawesThe smashed window at Second Chance in Archway. Picture: Crispin Dawes

To tackle domestic violence?

To campaign for better access to shelters and mental health services?

It's hard not to think about the oppression still faced by LGBTQ+ people and wonder how many of the groups in the Pride march are really part of the cure rather than the disease - political parties? The UK Border Agency? British Airways? Law enforcement bodies?

There are, of course, plenty of organisations that do great work campaigning for fairness and human rights all year round and by no means are all Pride displays vacuous or cynical.

As a charity shop, Second Chance is already doing more than most to tackle inequality.

But if the attack on its window display in Archway really was motivated by homophobia, it has unwittingly done us a favour - by reminding everyone who sees it that the history of Pride is one of violence, physical or threatened, against LGBTQ+ people, and of their (our) refusal to be cowed by it.

People often ask why Pride is still necessary 50 years on from the Stonewall riot.

It is, after all, now legal for us to love and even marry whoever we want.

And yes, it's true that life is immeasurably easier for people like me than it was for those a generation or two ago.

But that smashed window in Archway is, perhaps, a reminder that we still have further to go.

So to whoever smashed it - thanks for the wake-up call, and happy Pride.

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