CAMPAIGNERS are to stage a rival gay rights parade amid claims Glasgow’s Pride March has become “too commercialised.”

Members of the alternative Free Pride group say the event discriminates against poorer members of the gay, lesbian, bisexual, trans, queer, intersex and asexual (LGTBQIA) community due to entry fees being charged for a second year running.

They also claim Pride is far removed from what the original parades stood for – making a political statement and standing up for gay rights – instead focusing on corporate sponsorship.

Pride bosses started charging for the festival in 2014 after failing to get funding from Glasgow City Council and Creative Scotland.

Activists are now planning to stage Free Pride on the same day as the city’s annual Pride parade on August 22.

Their cost-free event will be held in the Art School, with performances from local musicians, workshops and stalls. Ciara Macguire, one of the organisers, said Pride had become “de-radicalised.”

The 22-year-old, from Partick, went on: “Pride is an opportunity to come together with other LGBTQIA people and remember and celebrate our history as well as raising awareness of, and fighting for, the issues that still affect us.

“It was originally a protest against the mistreatment of LGBTQIA people by police and wider society and it was also a way for us to be visible.

“It should remind people that there are still many things we need to be actively fighting for, such as trans rights, inclusion of disabled people, anti racism and the treatment of LGBTQIA asylum seekers.”

A spokesman for Pride Glasgow said the event, which has been running since 2008, is still used as a political statement for equality.

He said campaigners took part in solidarity for Russian LGBT people two years ago and staged a march ahead of Glasgow’s Commonwealth Games.

He added: “ This year is no different, and in this 20th anniversary of the first Pride march, we will be working with the Equality Network, Scotland’s national LGBTI equality and human rights charity, to ensure the parade remains a political event.

“We have worked to keep the ticket price as low as possible while still being able to meet the costs involved in producing the festival.

“The tickets also help raise money for The Pride Fund designed to support the LGBT Community in Glasgow and the West of Scotland.”

Pride bosses also said they welcomed the Free Pride event as an extra “to what Glasgow has to offer LGBT+ residents and visitors.”