Royal Navy spurns gay festival

Plymouth, UK – 18 August 2009


“The Royal Navy is guilty of rank hypocrisy. It sent 50 sailors to march in the London Pride gay parade in July but has failed to support the gay festival in its hometown of Plymouth. Is the navy ashamed of publicising locally its pro-gay policies?” queried human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell who is in Plymouth this week to support the Plymouth Pride lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) festival, which runs from 15 to 22 August.

“The Royal Navy had a recruitment stall at London Pride. It could easily send four officers to staff a similar stall at the Pride event in the Plymouth Guildhall on Saturday 22 August. Its unwillingness to do so has seriously undermined the navy’s gay-friendly credentials.

“Plymouth has a long, historic naval tradition and is one of the main ports of the Royal Navy. It is not the most tolerant city in Britain. Parts of the city are quite rough and homophobic.

“Given the sometimes less enlightened local attitudes, it is much more important that the navy has a presence at Plymouth Pride than at London Pride.

“The Royal Navy owes a full explanation for its absence to the Plymouth LGBT community and to the organisers of Plymouth Pride,” said Mr Tatchell, who is a spokesperson for the LGBT human rights group OutRage! and for the Green Party.