Game of Thrones star slams council for ‘refusing’ to fly rainbow flag
Welsh actor Iwan Rheon has condemned his hometown’s local council for refusing to fly the rainbow flag in occasion of LGBT+ events.
Rheon was asked by a fan on Twitter what he made of the Carmarthen council decision. Leighton Jenkins, assistant director of CBI Wales and a trustee of Chwarae Teg, wrote to the Game of Thrones star on Tuesday: “Hi Iwan, as a Carmarthen boy, do you have a view on Carmarthen Council’s refusal to fly the pride flag last weekend for Pride Cymru and their refusal to fly the pride flag for LGBT History Month?”
“This isn’t about a flag, it’s about the impact on your mental health of growing up different in a rural community,” Jenkins continued. “Imagine being an LGBT teenager right now in Carmarthen and knowing your Council doesn’t support you? Your voice may make a difference.”
Rheon, who plays the sadistic character Ramsay Bolton in the HBO hit, issued a response shortly afterwards. “I think it’s terrible. Shame on them. We should celebrate each other and everyone should be represented,” he wrote, adding a rainbow flag emoji at the end of the tweet.
Jenkins’ tweet referred to a controversy dating from February, when the council was criticised after refusing to fly the rainbow flag in occasion of LGBT History Month, citing conflicts with their policy.
The council reversed that decision following public outrage. As the BBC reported at the time, council leader Emlyn Dole instructed the flag to be raised because he was “concerned that the decision has been deliberately misinterpreted for political purposes, suggesting that Carmarthenshire County Council does not support and celebrate LGBT staff members and residents.”
Dole pointed out as much to Wales Online following the Twitter exchange between Jenkins and Rheon. “We have flown the Rainbow Flag on three occasions so far this year, for two days during LGBT History month in February; on the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia in May; and at Llanelli Town Hall to celebrate a local LGBT Day event in August,” he said, adding: “We have received no other requests to fly the Rainbow Flag, and likewise have not refused any requests.”
But according to Jenkins, the Carmarthenshire council is failing LGBT+ locals. After reading the council’s equality reports, Jenkins tweeted: “[The council] pays erratic/scant attention to
#LGBT issues in their reports. While it might adhere to statutory minimums it does not, at the moment, emulate best practice in this area.”
Jenkins also pointed out that the council’s social media accounts dedicated to promoting equality and diversity have been silent for nearly a year.