Queer people take over 1,000 UK billboards as new campaign brings Pride to the streets in spite of COVID-19

Patrick Kelleher June 10, 2020
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Pride Inside

Pride Inside digital billboard

Pride festivals and marches have been cancelled due to COVID-19, but new UK digital billboard campaign Pride Inside is set to put LGBT+ people front and centre.

While LGBT+ people can’t go out and march for equality and celebrate their identities this year, Pride Inside – a campaign dreamed up by drag star Ginger Johnson – will help give the queer community visibility.

Pride Inside is supported by Out of Home media and was made possible by Clear Channel, which donated 1,000 digital billboards across the UK.

The campaign will see LGBT+ people’s photos plastered on digital billboards for two weeks from June 15 in cities across the UK, including Belfast, Birmingham, Bradford, Bristol, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool, London, Manchester, Newcastle, Nottingham and Southampton.

Pride Inside puts LGBT+ people front and centre.

The campaign celebrates the diversity and resilience of the LGBT+ community at a time when people are being advised to stay at home as much as possible due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

More than 120 queer contributors and photographers teamed up to create photos from their homes and from public places while practicing social distancing for the campaign.

Pride Inside will also help to raise funds for the LGBT Consortium, with money set to be distributed among local organisations.

Pride is also a chance for our community to reach out to the people who haven’t found pride in their lives yet, who don’t feel safe, who are hidden.

The billboards will feature people from across the LGBT+ spectrum, including the lead singer of a Belfast queer punk band, a Newcastle drag king, an NHS nurse, original members of the Gay Liberation Front and a woman who came to the UK as a refugee and went on become an award-winning engineer.

Pride Inside
A Pride Inside billboard (Provided)

While people can’t take to the streets this Pride Month, organisers are asking members of the community to share their own images and celebrations online with the hashtag #PrideInsideUK.

Drag star Ginger Johnson said the campaign shows LGBT+ people who don’t feel safe that they are ‘not alone’.

Ginger Johnson, who spearheaded the campaign, said it is “crucial” that LGBT+ people are visible and proud this Pride Month – even if they can’t take to the streets.

“Pride is also a chance for our community to reach out to the people who haven’t found pride in their lives yet, who don’t feel safe, who are hidden,” Johnson said.

“It’s our chance to say to them, ‘You are not alone, we are here and we are proud of you.'”

The photography project was co-ordinated by music and events photographer Corinne Cumming.

“We’ve managed to source photographers and subjects from across the LGBTQ+ spectrum, throughout the UK and from many different ethnicities which is so exciting and unique,” Cumming said.

“For LGBTQ+ photographers and their subjects to be able to choose how they want to be represented via their art on a national platform, that’s really special.”

The project comes at a vital time for the LGBT  Consortium, as the COVID-19 pandemic decimates funding.

More: Coronavirus, Coronavirus lockdown, gay liberation front, Pride month

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