The Friends of Clapham Common have apologised for saying the gay Olympics events at Pride House would draw “undesirable elements” of the community.
In a joint statement between the group and former mayor of Lambeth Christopher Wellbelove, who strongly condemned the group for their opposition, the Friends said they would be working with gay and trans community members to benefit the common.
The group had denied claims the objection, which was partly based on perceptions that the event was “exclusively” for the LGBT community, was homophobic, saying all communities have “undesirable elements”.
John Amaechi, openly gay former basketball player and Clapham resident, said the objection was based on “archaic stereotypes and a complete misrepresentation of the facts.
“Today’s LGBT community and their straight friends are as much about family and children, book clubs and Bikram yoga and indeed a fanatical support for the greatest sporting spectacle in our lifetime, as any other part of the community.
“To suggest greater numbers of ‘undesirable elements’ in the gay community is not only pure speculation, it’s an implicitly bigoted insinuation.”
Now, the group has said they wish “to apologise to the LGBT community for any offence caused” in their submission to Lambeth Council opposing Pride House.
It said: “Following a meeting between FCC Chairman Melanie Oxley and Councillor Christopher Wellbelove, who had raised concerns around comments in the FCC’s objections, they have agreed to work together to increase involvement by individuals from the LGBT and other minority groups in the local area, to help strengthen the great work done by the FCC in enhancing Clapham Common for the benefit of all in the community.
“They also agreed that should the Pride House event be approved, that they would work to ensure that the event is a success in the spirit of the Olympics, whilst minimising impact on the local area and ensuring that the Common is restored following this and other events during this exceptional period.”
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