London's Pride Festival is in full swing, and it'll culminate with the Pride Parade on 8th July. Over a week before the event, controversy has erupted for a disheartening reason, and it provides an important reminder that allies need to check their privilege.
Organisers invited people to submit "messages of love for Pride" that would be turned into artwork for the parade. This seemed like a great idea...until the posters were revealed and turned out to be a bit homophobic themselves.
Even as a joke, using "gay" as an insult is unacceptable and posters like this only serve to normalise this type of rhetoric.
Other controversial posters read: "My gay friends make me more attractive by association" and "Befriend a gay person and win a prize — friendship."
People are understandably outraged at the implication that gay friends are trendy fashion accessories and their existence helps straight people appear "more attractive."
Furthermore, a whole lot of these posters focus on straight people and not the community that Pride is meant to honour.
After a social media backlash, four images from the campaign have been removed. Pride in London, the organisers of the event, have apologised for the ill-advised poster campaign.
"It is clear we misjudged the content of some of the messages in this poster series, undermining the individuality, importance, and dignity of the LGBT+ community," a spokesperson for the organisation said. "This was never our intention, and we are genuinely sorry to have played any part in something that appears to devalue our own community, and have removed these... images from our campaign."
Although we're glad to see that Pride in London has taken the criticism seriously, these posters serve as a depressing reminder of how much progress still needs to be made in the fight for LGBTQ equality.