UKIP LGBT group marches at London Pride despite being banned
UKIP’s LGBT group has joined the Pride in London parade, despite organisers having banned them due to safety concerns.
LGBT* in UKIP met off the parade route shortly after 1pm today, and attempted to join groups marching as they walked through the capital’s West End.
Asked why the group was marching, Richard Hendron, organiser of today’s march told PinkNews “In support of LGBT rights, as well as in support of our rights to be here. We want to show that if there is any homophobia [in UKIP] it is dealt with and we are progressing.
“We’ve been walking round here and noone has actually shouted at us, so I think we are going to be very safe,” he said when asked whether they felt safe.
“We are a party which believes in equality – we are a libertarian party – there are some people who are racist and homophobic, but unless we take part in things like this, we aren’t going to change this,” he went on.
Former Deputy Mayor of London, Richard Barnes, said: “For four years I helped organise Pride, and I led from the mayor’s office. I led the parade and I spoke from the platform. For those four years we fought for inclusion. Nobody was excluded. We wanted everyone included.
“We are and should be an inclusive society. When organisers came out and said UKIP was banned, it made me very angry.”
One reveller told PinkNews: Pride is a day of acceptance, and it is contradictory to say they can’t be here, but I don’t like them.”
Another said: “I don’t support it but they can be here… it’s a bit desperate.”
Despite objections, LGBT* in UKIP joined the parade without disruption.
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Organisers of Pride in London originally approved plans for UKIP LGBT+ to take part in the parade on Saturday 27 June, claiming it would not “discriminate”against them.
A bulletin went out to all UKIP members last week urging them to join the LGBT group on Saturday 27 June at Pride in London – and the party last week shared pictures of the t-shirts it will distribute.
Pride in London did not return a request for comment when PinkNews asked how it would respond if a UKIP group attempts to march.
The party previously accused Pride organisers of using “safety” as “an excuse to keep LGBT* in UKIP out of the parade.”
It said: “Despite this ban, LGBT* in UKIP do plan to show a presence, supporting LGBT rights, inclusion and equality, not to mention our right to be there. It is important that we get as many LGBT people from UKIP to attend, as there will be media interest in us.”