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Major fashion retailers’ Pride clothing is being made in countries where being LGBT is illegal

Lauren Franklin June 20, 2018
An LGBT pride parade in New Delhi on November 12, 2017. (SAJJAD HUSSAIN/AFP/Getty Images)

An LGBT pride parade in New Delhi in 2017 (SAJJAD HUSSAIN/AFP/Getty)

The Pride clothing ranges by huge brands H&M and Levi’s has been partly manufactured in countries where being LGBT is illegal.

An investigation by BBC’s Newsnight learnt that some of H&M’s Pride attire is made in Bangladesh, where being gay is punishable by life imprisonment, and in 2016 a gay rights activist and his friend were murdered by Islamist extremists.

H&M partly manufacture their Pride range in Bangladesh where being gay can lead to life imprisonment (Photo credit should read MUNIR UZ ZAMAN/AFP/Getty Images)

While other garments are produced in Turkey, where last year capital Ankara banned all gay festivals, despite homosexuality being legal; and China, in which it is also legal to be homosexual but activists say gay people suffer from homophobia.

Meanwhile Levi’s range is partly made in India where being in a same sex couple is still illegal and conversion therapy is rife.

Director of EuroPride, Steve Taylor criticised H&M and Levi’s for choosing to manufacture in those countries.

“They shouldn’t be making these products in countries where LGBT equality isn’t a reality,” he told Newsnight.

“It’s a bit of a smack in the face for somebody who goes to work every day, printing Pride on a t-shirt, but if they were to wear that to walk down the street they would probably be killed.”

The range is also made in China and Turkey where activists say gay people are subjected to homophobia (H&M)

The UN Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner said they were not aware of where H&M’s collection had been manufactured and said their partnership remained unaffected.

But Andy Train, co-chair of the UK Pride Organisers Network, told the BBC: “I think they’re embarrassed.

“The information is out there, they just need to probe a little bit deeper and think hard before they enter into these agreements.

“It’s easy to fly a rainbow flag, or to rebrand with a rainbow going through their logo on social media. Pride event organisers will be asking questions.”

Both brands donate a percentage of profits to LGBT charities (SAM PANTHAKY/AFP/Getty Images)

H&M revealed to the BBC that 10% of the sale price from their collection will be donated to the UN’s Free & Equal campaign, and Levi’s said they have donated to a charity in India that campaigns to reverse the current ban in the country on homosexuality.

While H&M and Levi’s offered transparency, Nike and Adidas refused to disclose where their Pride ranges, BeTrue and Pride Running Shoes, were manufactured.

More: equalities and human rights commision, fashion, gay pride t-shirts

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