UPDATED: Free Pride Drag Performance Policy Response

UPDATE: Drag performers are now welcome at Free Pride. Please refer to our current Free Pride Drag Performance Policy to be found at the following link – https://freeprideglasgow.wordpress.com/2015/07/22/free-pride-to-welcome-drag-performers/

The following statement is outdated and no longer representative of Free Pride’s performance policy.

At Free Pride we hope to create a safe space for all people within the LGBTQIA+ community. We understand that sometimes this will disappoint some people within the community, however our priority is always to put the needs of the most marginalised groups within our community first.

This is why, after much discussion, the trans and non binary caucus decided not to have drag acts perform at the event. This does not mean that people of any gender can’t wear what they want to the event, we simply won’t be having any self-described drag acts perform at our Free Pride Event on the 22nd August. We hope people can understand and support our decision. However we feel it important to fully explain why we came this decision.

The decision was taken by transgender individuals who were uncomfortable with having drag performances at the event. It was felt that it would make some of those who were transgender or questioning their gender uncomfortable. It was felt by the group within the Trans/Non Binary Caucus that some drag performance, particularly cis drag, hinges on the social view of gender and making it into a joke, however transgender individuals do not feel as though their gender identity is a joke. This can particularly difficult for those who are not out and still present as the gender they were assigned at birth. While it was discussed whether we could have trans drag acts perform, it was agreed that as it would not be appropriate to ask any prospective drag acts whether or not they identified as trans. It was therefore decided that having no drag acts perform would be the best option as it would mean no-one would feel pressured to out themselves. This also adheres to our Safer Spaces Policy, where we ask that no-one assume anyone else’s gender identity, and to always ask people’s pronouns.

We would like to reaffirm that this is not to say that we do not want gender expression, which we do encourage, at our event. We encourage everyone to wear what they want and express their gender however they please! There will be no policing of peoples gender identity. We will be re-inforcing our safer spaces policy at the event and asking that no-one assume anyone else gender and remember to always ask pronouns.

Free Pride is intended to be a safe space for all individuals. It is also intended to bring a new vibrant change to Glasgow’s LGBTQIA community; putting marginalised people at its heart.

Free Pride

11 thoughts on “UPDATED: Free Pride Drag Performance Policy Response

  1. Massive failure in bringing the entire LGBTQI community together by alienate those who , up until now , we’re always involved in Pride showing support of everyone , this divides the LGBTQI family and doesn’t help anyone who’s transgender either. I understand the argument that some may hold about the stage craft and art form called Drag , I respect how to some it could it be hurtful and offensive , this is their point of view, their personal perspective , I respect and understand , it’s far too easy to , carelessly say OK , no drag to solve the issue, because it doesn’t, what needs to be done has to come from a level place of understanding , as personal feelings are just that, personal to every individual , so what is offensive to one person may not be to the transgender person standing next to you who happens to be best friends with the drag artist on stage. who actually supported them threw their journey of rediscovery . Yes we have to put in place the support system s to ensure that the transgender community are not being marginalised or insulted , to educate all , so we can support them further as well as , we have to ensure we protect all individuals thief right to self expression and protect their livelihood , respecting their place within the community as equal.
    Our history shows just how central to the LGBTQI community Drag Queens are , from raising awareness around anything , fundraising for any charity and holding our community together during the dark days of the AIDS pandemic . They have also been very public in their supporter for the transgendered community , would fight with them to gain the human rights changes they deserve , so , knowing these things to be true , because drag queens are always first in line to help, how disrespectful is this of Pride to do as your actions give validation to the argument that drag does belittle or is anti Woman, anti Transgender, when you know it isn’t and by Pride isolating the drag community, you risk making them a target , making them out to be anti the transgender community, when they are in fact their biggest supporters , you need to reconsider this before , this mishandled situation becomes what this years Pride will be remembered for , as well as dividing a community instead of bring it together , love and peace to all x

    Liked by 6 people

  2. Obviously I don’t fully understand why this is an issue as I am not trans. I had just always thought drag to be the one of the most widely known forms of entertainment amongst the LGBTQ+ community.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I really don’t understand why people think that because it was decided not to have any drag acts performing, somehow that means the performers themselves are being persecuted?? It was stated that people can wear whatever they like to the event (drag performers included) as part of their own gender expression, only actual drag performances aren’t going to happen because (I assume) it would be difficult to ensure beforehand that the CONTENT OF THE PERFORMANCE isn’t going to offend/upset anyone who is attending, in what aims to be a safe space for everyone. I don’t believe it’s a vendetta against the drag performers themselves.
    Please correct me if I’m wrong FP.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This policy IS policing peoples’ gender identities. Drag IS an identity and very much a part of free expression. Drag is central to the Pride movement and I am absolutely appalled that you would think otherwise. We know that gender is a fluid spectrum and people can choose to situate themselves where they like on this at any given time. And if being cis and dressing in drag and moving between the two and all kinds of other possibilities is too much for Pride organisers to fathom, I am very worried for the future of this event.
    This is dividing the LGBTQIA community further instead of strengthening it.
    I will very much miss the long standing tradition of drag acts at Pride and for this reason I will not be attending. This is discrimination and we need to stand up against it.

    Liked by 8 people

  5. You appear to be drowning in a contradictory sea of nonsense. Shame on you for giving in to the passive aggressive identity politics of people who seek to impose their views on everyone else.

    Liked by 8 people

  6. No I fundamentally utterly totally disagree with this absurd statement – ‘Cis-drag’ does NOT take the female gender and turn it into a ‘joke’ – ‘Cis-drag’ (and I challenge anyone to define what they mean by that) ‘CELEBRATES’ the extreme glamour of the female gender whilst also being a comedian/actor/performer/entertainer – it is not the drag per se that is offensive – the ‘humour’ can be but the drag is not. To have drag is not a crime to have unfunny drag is. Furthermore one has to question the discrimination meted out by the transgender community against drag and question whether this is homophobia by the back door. After all gender and sexual orientation are totally different. There are many transgendered and non-binary people who are offended by the suggestion that they are gay lesbian bisexual. You better check your priorities and remember who was at the front of the Stonewall riots – it was the drag queens – so check your prejudices and discrimination.

    Liked by 8 people

  7. I do not live in anywhere near this event or even hail from this country, but as someone who uses drag and is a performer and as someone who has operated their gender expression in non-binary ways I just thought I’d add that there are many drag performers out there that openly defy the sometimes misogynistic and trans-misogynistic aspects of drag.

    When I was brought into the fold, it was as a deliberate measure to put power into my hands as a Queer POC and especially as QPOC who openly defies hetero-gender normativity. It was taught to me as an art-form I could use to talk about the very things you describe in this statement. Drag could even be considered part of an oral and performantive tradition amoungst us as Queer people, as one of the longest standing forms of Drag is celebrity impersonation. Drag Queens of past carry on icons and people we believed to be important to us as a community in a way that documentaries and books do not.On top of that, drag communities and trans communities (at least in a North American context) traditionally have ties together at the beginning of the rights movement as they were often the most visible and discriminated against amoungst the Queer Communities. Sex workers, gender non-conformers and drag performers held close (but still contentious) ties.

    I will not ignore the fact that division of Drag Queens from those that I have just mentioned has come as a result of (mostly) privileged white cis-male queers who separate themselves from the movement in an attempt to normalize themselves in modern Western culture. I will not deny that many drag queens openly use transphobic language but the issue nuanced and a piece of our history. A history that should be explored and taught to the Queers of a modern age who may not know of the struggles of the past.

    Ultimately, as I am not intimately aware of what Queer communities are like in Glasgow I can only respect your decision, but sincerely hope that you take the time to reconsider your decision and find a better way to honour our past and hope for our future.


    A Friend From Canada


  8. My understanding was that it was professional/commercial performers in drag who were not being invited to perform at Free Pride Glasgow , many of whom do have questionable presentations…. very different to the drag queens who fought the cops at Stonewall.
    Where is this ever expanding LGBTQIAbcxyz going to end ?


  9. That sounds sensible. But this story went round the world, and a lot of people take a pride to be basically a march. As I heard it reported initially, in France, you wanted to not have drag queens in the parade (kings weren’t mentioned), or at least that’s what people assumed. But I think basically what you are saying is that your event includes actual stage shows as entertainment, right? And you initially decided not to book drag acts for those this year. That’s something quite different. It would have helped to have made that clear.


  10. I respect you organizers for taking on this issue. As an organizer you are often left hung out for the birds by the very community you try to serve. It’s hard. It sucks.

    I’m a non binary, POC, drag performer. I am so lucky to have an anti-oppressive drag troupe that specifically seeks to undo a lot of the damage the mainstream drag community has enacted upon others. Typically- this takes the shape of white, cis gendered Gay men who’s performances are often misogynistic and racist (how many black face drag queens have I encountered? Too many to count).

    Thank you for caring about your community and doing what you can to make things better and safer.


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