Tory Party conference LGBTQ+ party ends with ‘disgusting’ homophobic abuse

People stand and applaud during a speech at the Conservative Party conference

A party celebrating LGBTQ+ inclusion at the Conservative Party conference was marred by homophobic abuse and behaviour towards attendees. 

The event was organised by LGBT+ Conservatives, the official LGBTQ+ wing of the Conservative Party, on Tuesday (4 October) evening to coincide with the final night of the Tory conference. Hundreds of people attended the event which is open to anyone – including party members, lobbyists and other conference goers – with a security pass.

However, the reception was marred by several incidents of homophobic behaviour, according to ITV News. Two sources told the outlet how one attendee had to be escorted from Reflex nightclub, the venue where the event took place, for calling a gay man a “f*g”. 

Another man was allegedly thrown out for calling two women a “dirty l*****”, a derogatory term for lesbians. 

ITV News was told both perpetrators of the alleged homophobic abuse were Conservative Party members, but it was unable to verify if this was true. 

“We kicked someone out who was blind drunk and called me a dirty l***** and that I needed to watch my back,” one victim said. “I don’t feel like I morally fit in anymore.”

LGBT+ Conservatives chair Elena Bunbury wrote on Twitter that the “abuse” directed towards the team during the evening of the event was “disgusting”. 

“We’ve run a free event and it’s spoilt by the few that feel the need to be abusive, not on at all,” Bunbury said. “Thank you to those who were respectful, it means a lot.”

Bunbury, who was also the event organiser, told ITV News that it was a “real shame this happened” and showed why groups like LGBT+ Conservatives are “so important”. 

“The venue staff were brilliant at removing people and had zero tolerance for it,” Bunbury added. “We will continue to stand firm against hate crime.”

Jessica Webster, head of women for LGBT+ Conservatives, also tweeted about the event. Webster said a “lot of people showed themselves up” at the group’s party and said LGBT+ Conservatives are “making a list and checking it twice”. 

“On a lighter note, thanks to the vast majority who shimmied, sang along, and supported our community,” Webster wrote. “We hope you made some new pals and had a night to remember.”

PinkNews has contacted the Conservative Party and Bunbury for comment. 

This is not the first time that the Conservative Party has faced backlash for anti-LGBTQ+ behaviour. 

The party faced heavy criticism for allowing the LGB Alliance, a notoriously anti-trans pressure group, to host a stall at the Conservative Party conference for the second year in a row.

The LGBT+ Conservatives group was told in September to remove slogan condoms from the conference to avoid a ‘sexualised’ image of the party in the wake of the Chris Pincher scandal – a former Tory deputy chief whip who was investigated for two alleged incidents of sexual assault. 

Internal LGBT+ Conservatives emails seen by PinkNews suggested the group was asked to remove the condoms, which bore phrases like “Never kissed a Tory but I’ve had safe sex with one”, by prime minister Liz Truss. Though, group members privately denied Truss was involved.