I am writing this on Thursday the 15th of March, the day after volunteering at AU Pride night in Tuns. I went in hoping, maybe this year, we would actually see bonding between members of the Pride Alliance and members of the AU. I was hoping, maybe this year, I would be able to have fun with queer people and allies alike. Instead, much like every year, it was the same tokenistic event that queer people at the LSE have come to expect.
AU members begged for AU Pride night to happen this year, and the person who organised it finally relented and put in a great deal of effort to decorate the Tuns, ensure there was a playlist, and make sure there was face paint and glitter for us all to enjoy. Instead of a celebration of the ‘inclusivity’ of the AU, my friend and I had to argue and beg for our music, selected especially for the night, not to be turned off for the entirety of the football game. Despite the obvious demand for AU Pride night, very few AU members actually engaged with us. I do not believe we would have had nearly as good a turn out had the football not been screened live, which in itself is disappointing, but as petty as it sounds, the fact we were worn down into allowing our music to be turned off for the second half of the game was a real kick in the teeth. Not only that, but when the music was turned back on, it was not the playlist that one of our members so painstakingly prepared (we still do not know exactly how this happened).
We are fed up with putting so much energy and emotional labour into events like this for AU members just to throw it back in our faces. We are fed up with this event just allowing clubs to tick the box which states they are ‘inclusive’, when in reality they do nothing else all year round and let us, the marginalised group they claim to be so inclusive of, put in most of the work. I am sick of hearing AU members state they only want glitter or rainbow flags painted on their faces so they can later pull in the club. They do not have the right to preach their inclusivity when in reality, even when asked to actually engage with us for one night in a whole year, the football is more important.
Most AU members have the privilege of walking away from Pride night and forgetting all about it, but we have to pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and try and forget that our presence there was not because they wanted to engage with us, but because they wanted to claim their brownie points. You can call me a snowflake all you want, say that I am too sensitive, or being unfair to deprive AU members of their precious football match, but it is exhausting fighting every day for our existence and our rights, to get the same respect as our non-queer peers, and to constantly be the ones saddled with the vast majority labour of organising these events. I hope next year we do not do an AU Pride night, because I do not feel the majority of the AU members deserve the effort we put in, and they certainly do not deserve to be considered inclusive.