Far-right protesters outnumbered by teachers and LGBTQ+ activists blasting George Michael tunes

A split image of protestors at the Honor Oak pub

Hundreds of counter-protestors have, yet again, blocked far-right activists from disrupting a family-friendly drag event at the Honor Oak Pub in south-east London

LGBTQ+ activists, teachers, allies and the borough’s Labour MP came together to blockade another wave of Turning Point UK (TPUK) protestors as they attempted to silence the Lewisham pub’s drag event for a third time since February.

The organisation – an offshoot of an American far-right group – has routinely called for its supporters to protest outside the pub in an effort to spread their anti-drag message.

Anti-LGBTQ+ pundits such as GB News host Calvin Robinson and occasional actor Laurence Fox have joined with protestors in the past, sharing misinformation about family-friendly drag events.

Drag artist and Drag Storytime & Brunch host That Girl was yet again forced to anticipate the protests in a statement shared to Instagram on 6 April.

“It has come to our attention that there are plans to protest another of our events,” the statement read. “I would like to thank you all for your support at the previous two events.

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“We cannot do this alone and we are calling you again to stand with us against this bigotry.”

Signs were placed across Lewisham to spread awareness of the anti-drag protests and resulting counter-protests, with one reading “Lewisham loves trans people”.

During the protests, a heavy police presence divided the two groups, with the pro-LGBTQ+ counter-protestors outnumbering Turning Point UK supporters.

Demonstrators chanted messages of LGBTQ+ solidarity over the TPUK group, who were positioned at the entrance of the pub by police, and even played George Michael songs from a speaker to drown out their anti-drag rhetoric.

As well as anti-fascist activists, the supportive crowd reportedly included members of the Lewisham National Education Union (NEU) from a primary school opposite the pub and members of the anti-racism group Stand Up to Racism.

“Drag storytelling is here to stay as long as the hosts deem it so,” a statement from Stand Up to Racism read. “TPUK’s presence is unwelcome and must end. They do not have a ‘right’ to disrupt community life.

“We are calling upon the authorities not to take as a given that TPUK have automatic entitlement to protest outside or opposite the Honor Oak [pub].”

Despite TPUK’s position as a far-right organisation that spreads anti-LGBTQ+ rhetoric, prime minister Rishi Sunak refused to condemn it during Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday (26 April).

After being asked by Lewisham MP Vicky Foxcroft to condemn the group’s “attempts to spread hatred and division,” Sunak responded that he was “not aware” of the issues Foxcroft raised.

“In general, we should treat everybody with respect and understanding,” he added. “People should be allowed to associate freely within the bounds of the law.”

In a statement following PMQs, TPUK members asked Foxcroft to join its protest against Honor Oak to “educate herself”.

Instead, she joined counter-protesters.

In the days leading up to the event, That Girl summarised TPUK’s position as “queerphobia.”

“As I have said numerous times, this is not about the children, nor has it ever been about children. This is queerphobia masquerading as concern, plain and simple.”