Homophobic vandals invited to Gloucestershire Pride to ‘educate’ themselves after spate of attacks

Wrapped in bisexual flag and pride flags this trio are watching a gay pride event

The former chair of Pride in Gloucestershire has invited vandals who destroyed Pride banners and covered them with homophobic graffiti to attend the event and “educate” themselves. 

JayJay Potter-Peachey, the director of media and communications for the UK Pride Organisers Network who served as chair of Pride in Gloucestershire for more than five years, told PinkNews that “education is key” in tackling anti-LGBTQ+ hate crimes across the UK.

Potter-Peachey, who is also vice-chair of Pride in Weston – this year’s host of UK Pride, has called for better understanding around the LGBTQ+ community after a man scrawled homophobic graffiti on Pride banners outside of Gloucester Quays shopping centre on 10 June.

Two days later, two men and a woman pulled down three vinyl banners outside of the shopping centre. Police have since issued an appeal to find the culprits of the suspected hate crime attacks. 

Potter-Peachey called the attacks “awful” and said they show “a complete lack of respect towards our community”. 

Potter-Peachey at Copenhagen Pride in 2022. (Supplied)

“I do believe that these people are uneducated about our community and hence I invited them to Pride,” he told PinkNews.

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“Pride is not only a celebration for our own community or a protest as pride has always been, as we in the UK are in dire straits with our LGBTQ+ rights.

“It’s also a chance for the wider community to get together, and educate themselves over aspects of our community, learn about the issues we have faced before and still continue to face – but ultimately to break down barriers within the community so we can all be equal and as one.” 

‘Attend Pride and educate yourself’

Potter-Peachey blamed the UK government’s anti-trans rhetoric for an increase in hate crimes. 

Statistics from the Home Office published in October 2022 reveal a record high for hate crimes in England and Wales, with at least 155,841 recorded hate crimes from March 2021 to March 2022.

“Conversion therapy has still not been banned in the UK and again the issue being around the trans community, and not to mention blocking the Scottish Parliament from bringing in enhanced trans rights,” Potter-Peachey said.

In a move that has been welcomed by LGBTQ+ advocacy groups, SNP leader and Scotland’s first minister, Humza Yousa, confirmed on 12 April that his government will take legal action against the UK government’s efforts to block its Gender Recognition Reform Bill.

The action follows Westminster’s use of Section 35 of the Scotland Act to block the legislation, which would allow trans people in Scotland to self-declare their own gender.

“My invitation to those people causing the graffitti is a simple one: attend pride and educate yourself, learn about our community and try and think before making these gestures, defacing pride displays, and think about the hurt and harm it is causing towards the LGBTQ+ community,” Potter-Peachey continued.

“Education is key.” 

To the LGBTQ+ community and its allies, he said: “Stand together to educate those who have no idea about our community and our issues, causing them to do mindless acts of vandalism”.

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.