East End residents tackle anti-gay stickers with love

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a white background.

A small group of East End residents are to tackle anti-gay stickers by ‘love-bombing’ the area with their own posters.

On Monday, PinkNews.co.uk reported that homophobic messages had been placed around the area, declaring it a “gay-free zone”.

The messages, posted on buildings and lampposts close to Shoreditch gay nightspots George & Dragon and the Joiners Inn, say “Arise and warn. Gay free zone. Verily Allah is severe in punishment.”

They have also been posted on Whitechapel High Street and outside a school.

Wendy Richardson, an actor who lives in Hackney, says she and four friends will meet on Friday to cover the stickers with messages of love.

The group plans to use quotes from writers Anais Nin, Anne Frank, Coretta Scott-King and Rikki Beadle-Blair to spread the word.

Ms Richardson said she had informed local police of her plan.

She said: “It’s really important to stand together and say ‘less hate please’.”

“Everyone has an obligation to ensure that people have rights and dignity. It’s just a question of doing something to counter the hate.

“It’s about people in the area going to work on Friday and seeing something beautiful and loving in place of those hurtful stickers.”

People should not be afraid of reporting such incidents to police, she said.

Ms Richardson added: “We don’t necessarily think it is Islamic fundamentalists, it’s just somebody hateful.”

The group will meet outside Shoreditch Town Hall at 9am on Friday and volunteers are welcome.

Gay rights campaigner Peter Tatchell said this week that LGBT Muslims were living in fear of attack in the East End.

The Muslim Council of Britain said: “These stickers are wrong and not in keeping with our Islamic teaching to respect our neighbours.”

Later today, Tower Hamlets council and the East London Mosque are expected to release a joint statement condeming the stickers.