A group of teens campaigning against a town’s refusal to fly the Pride flag say they are “shocked” and “appalled” after receiving a flurry of homophobic comments.
Following a local council’s decision not to fly the Pride flag in its town centre, the group decided to raise awareness of the issue.
The teens – aged 15 to 17 – organised an event to support Oxford Pride following Abingdon-on-Thames council’s refusal to fly the rainbow flag from the town hall in support of the event next year.
However, they say they were horrified after receiving a number of homophobic comments as they tried to raise money and talk to people about the issue in Abingdon town centre.The group say they abuse came mainly from the “older generations”, with one man telling them he would “not let a gay babysit children”.
The group of nine young people – some of whom identified themselves as LGBT were working as part of their National Citizen Service (NCS).
“I was so shocked because in our generation people aren’t against the LGBTQ community,” said Serena Harrop, 16, told the BBC.
“We are just trying to raise awareness that some people are gay and that it’s a normal thing.”
Oxford Pride chair Rob Jordan told PinkNews that although it was a “shame” that the group had been targeted, it was important to “focus on the positive” and praised the teenager’s hard work.
The Leader of Abingdon council Mike Badcock said he wanted to “reassure all people living in Abingdon on Thames that they are all valued members of our community.
“I am extremely disappointed that the reasons for the Council’s decision in this regard continue to be misinterpreted, it would appear wilfully by some,” he told PinkNews.
He said the council would be contacting local police over the matter.
When quizzed on the council’s reasons for refusing to fly the Pride flag, PinkNews were told that flying the flag would give “a clear precedent which would mean that the Council would come under pressure for other flags to be flown.”
Earlier this month, Foreign Secretary Boris Johns on lifted a ban on rainbow flags being flown from UK embassies and consulates around the world.