Wickes’ powerful Pride float bizarrely labelled ‘homophobic’ by The Telegraph newspaper

The Wickes float at Brighton Pride

The Telegraph newspaper has repeated bizarre claims an inclusive Pride float from hardware store Wickes was “homophobic” because it supports trans people as well as gay, lesbian and bisexual customers.

On Saturday (6 August), photos of a Wickes float in the Brighton Pride parade circulated on social media, earning the DIY store widespread praise for avoiding corporate rainbow-washing for it’s no-nonsense stance on conversion therapy in the UK.

The float featured two huge signs – one which read, “No LGB without the T, we stand by our trans siblings now and forever”, and another which demanded: “Ban conversion therapy for all!”

The message was praised on social media by LGBTQ+ people and allies for making a “bold” and “unapologetic” statement in support of queer people.

A spokesperson for Wickes said the float was simply “saying the blinking obvious”.

But on Monday (8 August), The Telegraph ran a story headlined: “Pro-trans Pride sign by Wickes ‘homophobic’.”

The article conveniently cropped the second slogan about conversion therapy, and instead supported claims that showing support for transgender people was somehow homophobic.

The newspaper quoted just two people who were upset by the Pride float – both of whom are members of the anti-trans lobby group LGB Alliance.

It claimed that Wickes had been “accused of discriminating against gay people over a float at the Brighton Pride parade”.

Allison Bailey, who lost her lawsuit against Stonewall last month, was referred to as “a friend of JK Rowling” by the paper.

“This is Wickes promoting unlawful discrimination against lesbians, gays, and bisexuals and making our rights conditional on supporting another group,” she said.

Bailey, an LGB Alliance co-founder, was joined by Kate Barker, the managing director of the same group.

Barker insisted: “We must assume that Wickes have not understood the significance of this slogan.

“They cannot seriously believe that lesbians, gay men and bisexuals may not organise in our own interests without the permission of trans people.”

Where Wickes suggested that lesbians and gays must only be allowed outside in groups with prior approval from a trans person remains unclear.

The queer community was left reeling at the “sheer desperation of the hundreds of straight people involved in making this garbage article a reality”, and collectively sent the story straight to “the f**king bin”.

As Wickes COO Fraser Longden pointed out in a post on LinkedIn, there was literally nothing about the Brighton Pride float that should be considered controversial.

“It seems our Brighton Pride float has raised a few eyebrows,” he wrote.

“Apparently saying conversion therapy is wrong is considered brave and contentious.

“It’s not just the people at Wickes who are allies, Wickes is an ally to our whole LGBTQ+ community of customers and colleagues.

“As the exec sponsor for the LGBTQ+ workstream, I support, encourage and believe in our messaging on this. Conversion therapy should be banned for all and the trans community is valid.

“Nothing brave about this, just saying the blinking obvious.”