So the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) have been banned from marching at London Gay Pride on June 27, 2015.

I’ve seen the angry rants from left wingers and the petitions pushed by those opposed to UKIP attending Pride and they have succeeded in their goal to ban LGBT people who are members of UKIP from marching under the UKIP banner. And as someone who has supported LGBT causes for years I am disgusted and ashamed by this course of action. Before continuing I want to make it absolutely clear that I am fundamentally opposed to everything that UKIP stand for but this move to ban LGBT people from marching under their banner leaves a very unpleasant taste.

Whether people like it or not at the last election UKIP managed to gain the votes of over 3.8 million people and unfortunately this does mean they are a legitimate party, while they may only have one seat in Parliament clearly they have struck a cord with large swathes of the electorate. Based on this alone alone LGBT activist and the organisers of Pride do not have the right to ban UKIP from marching at the event especially when LGBT people will still be able to march under the Tory, Labour, Lib Dem and Green Party banners. As a minority group fighting for our rights we should not be discriminating against people who we disagree with. It is even more ridiculous when you consider that people can march under religious affiliations. Christianity calls for gay people to be stoned to death but gay Christians are still able to march in Pride. With this being the case how can we reasonably justify the banning of UKIP?

People will argue that UKIP have a disproportionately large number of supporters and candidates who have made very negative comments about LGBT people but if you look at every other party they also have these rather nasty people among them too. When it came to the Marriage Bill that amended the law allowing same-sex couples to marry half of the Tory MPs in Parliament voted against the Bill including 2 cabinet ministers at the time. Back in the 1980s and 1990s members of the Tory Party even suggested that gay people should be locked away or gassed to prevent the spread of Aids. Today it would be insane to suggest banning people from under the Conservative banner and the same is true of UKIP. I have very differing views to that of UKIP and even the party that I support on the subject of Europe and immigration but the idea of banning a credible and legitimate political party from attending an event is arguably a fascist notion.

The only reasonable move now is to “un-ban” them from attending, the continued ban does the LGBT community and the Left no favours, it continues to push the idea that the left hate people who disagree with their viewpoints. Whatever your views of Nigel Farage and the UKIP leadership that should not be used to tar every single person who votes UKIP. Not everyone who votes UKIP is a racist, these people are clearly voting a particular way for a reason and we should be addressing that not pushing them away. This move to ban LGBT people from marching under the UKIP banner turns us into bigots and this is what we need to fight against.

I would challenge anyone who supported the ban on UKIP attending London Pride to take a strong look at themselves in the mirror and still claim that they are advocates of human rights.
Article was originally posted here and on Canal St. website here.