Human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell has said he thinks it is “not appropriate” to allow UKIP to march at Pride in London.
Earlier this week it was announced that the UK Independence Party’s LGBT group will be allowed to march in London’s annual Pride parade for the first time.
The official line-up released by Pride in London revealed that UKIP LGBT+ will take part in this summer’s parade, on Saturday 27 June.
The party has never before applied to march officially, and the move has generated some controversy due to the party’s stance on LGBT rights issues.
In a statement to PinkNews, Mr Tatchell said: “It is not appropriate for any organisation that opposes LGBTI equality to participate in the Pride London parade. UKIP campaigned against same-sex marriage and supports the right of faith organisations to discriminate against LGBTI people. It’s general election manifesto included no commitment to LGBTI equality. Nigel Farage scapegoated non-British people with HIV.
“Many of UKIP’s candidates and elected politicians have made extremist anti-gay comments that echo the homophobia of the far right BNP. Their asylum policy would make it much harder for LGBTI people fleeing persecution to gain refugee status. UKIP wants to exploit Pride to promote their party and con the LGBTI community into believing they are LGBTI-friendly. Pride London should only allow organisations that support LGBTI equality to join the parade.”
UKIP was the only UK-wide parties to pledge an anti-LGBT policy at the election, with the party’s Christian Manifesto – which was not released to the press – calling for a ‘conscience’ law to weaken equality legislation, and accommodate the beliefs of people who oppose gay rights.
The group will be marching in the same block as HIV charity Positively UK – despite Nigel Farage coming under intense scrutiny for making claims about HIV during the election campaign. He claimed during the BBC leadership debate that the UK is now “incapable” of treating Britons with HIV.
A petition calling for their application to march to be denied says: “Nigel Farage, leader of UKIP, clearly does not support the values of acceptance that Pride promotes, and UKIP is an inherently homophobic, transphobic, xenophobic, racist and misogynistic political party.”
Pride in London already blocks branches of far-right parties including the BNP and EDL.