Teenagers receive vile homophobic abuse for standing up to town’s rainbow flag ban
A group of teenagers who protested against a ban on flying the rainbow flag by a local council have opened up about receiving homophobic insults from locals.
The teenagers from Abingdon-on-Thames, who are aged between 15 and 17, told the BBC that they were “shocked” by the responses which mainly came from “older generations”.
The nine young people said they were told by a man that he would “not let a gay babysit children” and said they were “shocked and appalled” when they took to the high street to raise money and attempt to discuss the issue with locals.
Earlier this year the town’s council banned the flying of the rainbow flag for Pride, claiming that it would set a precdent for other flags to be flown.
A proposal to fly the rainbow flag in Abingdon, Oxfordshire, was defeated by the town council last month.
The council voted 7 to 6 not to fly the rainbow flag at next year’s Oxford Pride on 3 June 2017.
“I was so shocked because in our generation people aren’t against the LGBTQ community,” 16-year-old Serena Harrop told the BBC.
“We are just trying to raise awareness that some people are gay and that it’s a normal thing.”
Local LGBT leaders have commended the teenagers for attempting to start a discussion on the issue.
Town council leader Mike Badcock said he was aware that the council’s meeting had led to abuse of the teenagers saying that the young people are “valued members of our community”.
He said: “I note that the alleged incidents have been linked to our decision regarding the flying of the rainbow flag,” he said.
“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.
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“We would always advise that where there are any such incidents they should always be reported to the police.”
A petition for the council to reconsider its decision has been started, and has almost 2,000 signatures.
Meanwhile in Scotland, the Queen was greeted with a rainbow flag as she arrived for the state opening of the Scottish Parliament.
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan raised the rainbow flag from City Hall to mark the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHOT) in May.
The rainbow flag was also flown from the UK’s Houses of Parliament for the first time, ahead of Pride in London back in June.