Glasgow's Queer Battleground
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As LGBTQ rights have gained increasing acceptance in Western countries, Pride events have come to stand as examples of the complex reality of inclusion in public space as it is experienced by contemporary LGBTQ groups. This thesis takes the case study of Glasgow, Scotland, between 2015 and 2016, to examine a grassroots activist intervention into how Pride events queer public space. The group Free Pride critiqued the mainstream Pride event organized by the group Pride Glasgow, and created its own alternative event. This thesis analyses the debates in Glasgow to examine the extent to which the concepts of homonormativity and queer space can help us understand this contestation. Drawing on archival research, participant observation, and interviews with the key players in Free Pride, this thesis argues that debates surrounding homonormativity and Pride can be understood through three key discursive themes of radical politics, commodification, and exclusion. This thesis argues first that while Free Pride have legitimate grounds to critique Pride Glasgow, Pride Glasgow’s spaces are more complex than a homonormative critique allows. And second, that while Free Pride works to open up new possibilities for queerer spaces and identities in Glasgow, this process is complex and contradictory.