Bristol Pride calls for allyship after billboard advert is set on fire in ‘cowardly’ hate crime 

A photo of Bristol Pride's 2023 billboard, which was set alight less than 24 hours after it was put up.

Bristol Pride organisers are calling for “allyship” after a billboard advertising the event was set alight less than a day after being put up, in an attack they have called “cowardly”. 

After sharing their “upset” over the billboard being set on fire, Bristol Pride’s director, Daryn Carter, told PinkNews on Monday (19 June) that they have alerted police to the criminal damage.

Avon and Somerset police has said it is treating the incident as a hate crime.

“Though disheartened by this, it’s a timely reminder of why we do this adding to our resolve and for everyone to see that Pride is as important now as it ever was,” Carter said.

Bristol Pride shared a statement on Twitter, which read: “Considered acts of hatred like this are the reason why Pride remains a protest, as well as a celebration of visibility. 

“It only gives evidence as to why we need Pride and to show up supporting each other.” 

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The event organisers added that the incident shows how allyship is needed “more than ever” to call out “hate and prejudice” in order to protect queer people’s freedoms. 

“We have recorded this as a hate crime at this time,”neighbourhood policing inspector Tom Gent said in a statement.

“We do not tolerate such crime and an investigation is underway.

“We are reaching out to event organisers to keep them updated on our investigation.”

Bristol Pride’s statement also referenced a homophobic attack in Bedminster where couple Susie Day and Fliss Davis were left “heartbroken” after their Pride doormat was stolen from their their Bristol home on 3 June, with the second being vandalised 10 days later.

Despite the attack, Bristol Pride will go ahead, with the organisers calling for participants to attend the main festival on Saturday 8 July, “louder and prouder than ever” to “show that hate has no home in Bristol”.

Carter said he has received an “overwhelming response” to the Twitter post.

“Many people have voiced how angry and upset they are and shared their concerns with the current hostile environment for the LGBT+ community.

“If any good can come of this, it’s a reminder that we should never be complacent and has raised awareness that sadly, even in our wonderful city of Bristol, hate and prejudice still exists.”

Bristol Pride is working with the advertising company to have the billboard reprinted. In the meantime, the company has placed the advert on a digital billboard at an alternative site in the city.

The event’s Twitter post has been viewed more than 44,000 times, with many people condemning the attack as “awful, terrible” and “disgusting”, while offering their support for the celebratory event. 

Children’s author Day commented under the post, following the attack on her doormats, to express her sorrow.

The Revered Phil Nott commented that the event had solidarity from Bristol Cathedral, which will join the march as members and allies of the LGBTQ+ community. 

Another comment read: “A pathetic attempt to try and intimidate LGBTQ people in Bristol. They didn’t even manage it – the billboard still stands.” 

As Pride Month is currently being marked with various events around the world, trans and non-binary people have shared with PinkNews the importance of trans joy year-round, amid the increase in anti-LGBTQ legislation and rhetoric in countries including the US and UK.

Anyone who has witnessed or experienced a hate crime is urged to call the police on 101, Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or visit the True Vision website. In an emergency, always dial 999.

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