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National Trust head says it ‘alienated’ visitors following Pride badge row

Meka Beresford August 21, 2017
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National Trust Rainbow// lanyard

National Trust Rainbow// lanyard

The head of the National Trust has apologised to “traditional visitors” of their Heritage’s sites for “alienating” them.

Dame Helen Ghosh who is set to leave the Trust next year told Radio 4’s The World This Weekend spoke about some of the traditional values of its members.

“Sometimes some of our perhaps more traditional visitors have felt that they are not being catered for as they once felt that they were,” she explained.

The director general added that she has seen the Trust has been “tread too far” in its political leanings in recent history.

She said” “Sometimes I see signs that our places, or things going on, that perhaps tread too far in one direction than another.

“It is sometimes the case that we appeal too much to one audience and not enough to another.”

However, she did not specifically reference the Pride badge row that dominated media attention.

“I haven’t got a specific example in mind.

“I think what I’m describing is that in order to be open-armed to welcome the widest possible group of visitors to our places, sometimes some of our perhaps more traditional visitors have felt that they are not being catered for as they once felt that they were,” she added.

Dame Helen’s comments come after the Trust was slammed for asking its volunteers to wear Pride badges and lanyards to support LGBT+ equality and mark 50 years since the partial decriminalization of homosexuality in England and Wales.

Volunteers at 17th-century Felbrigg Hall in Norfolk were asked to wear a lanyard or badge with a rainbow flag when meeting and greeting guests.

The addition to the uniforms was just one nod to the charity’s exploration of hidden gay history in the UK.

The Trust was criticised for banishing volunteers who refused to wear the badge.

Following the outcry, the Trust pedalled back on its decision and said that the badges would be optional.

A spokesperson said: “We are aware some volunteers had conflicting, personal opinions about wearing the rainbow lanyards and badges.

“That was never our intention. We are therefore making it clear to volunteers that the wearing of the badge is optional and a personal decision.”

Dame Helen wrote in the Telegraph on Saturday that volunteers were “free to step back from the volunteer role or take a different role for the duration” of the Prejudice and Pride installation

Related topics: LGBT, National Trust, Pride

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