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Queer activists hacked bus adverts in central London today (Friday 5 July) to protest hypocrisy of Pride in London.
LGBT+ solidarity group Lesbians and Gays Support the Migrants replaced bus ads along the Pride march route to protest the exclusion of LGBT+ asylum seekers and homeless people from the march.
The ads challenge how institutions such as the Home Office and the MET police plus corporations like Barclays are able to march on Pride in London, but marginalised groups are left watching on the sidelines because they are unable to afford spaces on the march.
The ads ask ‘Who is welcomed by London pride?’ with each highlighting a different contradiction.
The first notes that The Home Office is included while LGBT+ asylum seekers aren’t, the second compares Barclays with homeless LGBT+ people, the third highlights the inclusion of arms companies versus LGBT+ refugees and lastly the police in comparison LGBT+ community groups.
The nature of Pride in London has become under increasing scrutiny in recent years. This week, after pressure on social media, UK Black Pride announced that it was removing the Home Office from its event because of their “continued discrimination against the communities we represent”.
The Home Office have come under increasing pressure for “rainbow-washing”. In June the department changed its profile picture to a rainbow on the same day news broke that it was deporting a gay rugby player – whose case is still ongoing. 78% of LGBT asylum cases were refused by the Home Office last year with the majority of appeals won in court.
Sam Bjorn, spokesperson from Lesbians and Gays Support the Migrants said:
“You have to ask who Pride in London is really for? While the Home Office are celebrated, the LGBT+ migrants that they have dehumanised, detained and forced to live in fear of deportation have to watch from the sidelines.
50 years since Stonewall, Pride should be standing up for the people in our community facing the brunt of oppression, not promoting the very companies and institutions that attack us.”
Harry Gay from the Outside Project, London’s first LGTB+ homeless shelter said about the campaign:
“Aside from the fact that we, a small grassroots homelessness project, have to pay to be a part of Pride in London – they repeatedly ignore our requests for it to be more accessible for our guests. We are fighting for our voices to be heard in solidarity with other marginalised groups who are equally being pushed to the back in what corporate pride has become.”