County council denies homophobia after Eastbourne Pride posters taken down

Betty Gallacher, chair of Bourne Out LGBT, with one of the posters
Betty Gallacher, chair of Bourne Out LGBT, with one of the posters

The county council has denied accusations of homophobia after posters promoting Eastbourne Pride were taken down.

The event’s organiser Betty Gallacher said she placed 20 posters around town promoting the event this Saturday (July 21) but they were removed within 12 hours after a warning by East Sussex County Council staff.

Eastbourne Pride 2017. Photo by Jon Rigby

Eastbourne Pride 2017. Photo by Jon Rigby

Ms Gallacher, chair of Bourne Out LGBT, accused the council of homophobia but they said the posters were taken down due to being a safety hazard.

She said, “I can smell homophobia all over this one. Why? Because posters put in the same place promoting a fun fair had been there for three weeks.

“Why did the council allow those posters to stay up but demanded mine come down immediately.

“When the council worker called she was rude and aggressive. I am appalled.”

She added, “All we were trying to do was raise awareness of what we are doing on Saturday.

“We have made great inroads in recent years to raise awareness of the LGBT community locally.

“Why should we be told we can’t have posters up when the fun fair organisers are allowed?

“Just because our event is for the LGBT community doesn’t mean that we should be treated as second class citizens.”

But the county council has defended its actions, saying the posters had been removed from the safety railings for safety reasons.

A spokesperson said the authority completely refutes any accusation of homophobia.

East Sussex County Council Highways said in a statement, “Where signs can be placed depends on a number of factors but we do not allow them to be attached to safety railings under any circumstances as this could affect visibility and safety of pedestrians crossing the road.

“We did contact the organisers of the event to give them the opportunity to move their signs from the safety railings, which is not something we would usually do, but were left with no option but to remove them ourselves.

“We would be more than happy to discuss directly with the organisers of Eastbourne Pride alternative locations where the signs can be posted.”

Eastbourne Pride is in its second year and the main event in Princes Park is expected to see more than 3,000 visitors.

There is set to be a parade starting at Langney Point at 11am which will travel down the promenade to Princes Park.

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