Boris Johnson ridiculed for ‘hollow’ Pride Month message: ‘You are a disgrace’

Boris Johnson speaking to the camera

Boris Johnson has been blasted for sending out a celebratory Pride Month message as his government increasingly takes aim at LGBTQ+ rights.

In a video posted on the official UK prime minister Twitter account, Johnson said he was “proud” at how many LGBTQ+ people have sought asylum in the country from Afghanistan following the Taliban invasion.

The Home Office announced a programme in August 2021 to bring vulnerable Afghans to safety in the UK, with plans to welcome 5,000 refugees in the first year.

“LGBT Afghans coming to this country because we’re a place that is welcoming and understands that type of intolerance is simply unacceptable in this country,” Johnson said.

Johnson added: “I’m proud above all that the UK is a country where you can be however you want to be and you can love whomever you choose to love no matter who you are or where you come from or what your background is.

“So it’s great to see Afghans coming to this country with that knowledge and seeing our country as a beacon of hope.

“That’s why Pride Month matters so much. And I hope you have a great Pride.”

Twitter users were less than impressed by Johnson’s well-wishes considering his government’s alarming track record on LGBTQ+ rights.

Boris Johnson has repeatedly refused to apologise for referring to gay men as “tank-topped bum boys” in a 1998 Telegraph column about gay MP Peter Mandelson resigning from the Labour cabinet.

The Home Office has denied asylum to 25 LGBTQ+ men from Afghanistan forced to flee their homes since 2017.

One gay Afghan who fled to the UK when he was 10 may be deported back to Afghanistan even though this will likely put his life at risk.

While Home Office emails suggested that the prime minister authorised the evacuation of animals from the central Asian country – but 250 queer Afghans could not be airlifted as there were “too many other people” requiring help.

The Home Office is also pushing ahead with an immigration scheme that will deport some asylum seekers to anti-LGBTQ+ Rwanda – despite acknowledging that queer people will face discrimination there.

And though LGBTQ+ people may be free to “choose” who they love, trans folks aren’t exactly allowed to be whoever they want to be.

Britain’s prime minister Boris Johnson (C) walks beneath the Pride Month installation outside Number 10. (Leon Neal/Getty Images)

Ministers have claimed trans youth shouldn’t have access to gender-affirming healthcare or be supported in school. Trans people shouldn’t be able to easily change their legal gender either, be protected from barbaric conversion therapy or play sports.

The rest of Europe similarly doesn’t quite see the UK as a “beacon” of LGBTQ+ rights.

The UK has plummeted down LGBTQ+ advocacy group ILGA-Europe’s continental rankings for years, falling from first place in 2014 to 14th today.

Among the reasons – and there were many – were the NHS’ lengthy wait times for gender-affirming care, government offices pulling out of a Stonewall inclusivity programme, the appointment of anti-trans people to a national equalities watchdog and the rise in anti-trans rhetoric from politicians and the press causing “serious damage”.

Hate crimes against LGBTQ+ Brits have also skyrocketed in recent years. From 2014-15, there were 6,363 reported homophobic hate crimes.

In 2020-21, this rose 210 per cent to at least 19,679.