“The reckless comments of one individual does not define the LGBTQI community”
BY ELEANOR NOYCE, IMAGE VIA @THESINITTAOFFICIAL ON INSTAGRAM
Following reports of racism endemic within Pride In London as an organisation, DIVA Magazine withdrew from its media partnership in March 2021. Later on that year, DIVA publisher Linda Riley, alongside LGBTQI campaigner Peter Tatchell and many others, signed an open letter to Mayor of London Sadiq Khan demanding that Pride In London address allegations of racism, replace its central governing body and stamp out hate. Also in March last year, reports emerged regarding lesbophobic behaviour within the UK’s largest Pride event, with outlets include PinkNews covering the story. DIVA asked Pride in London to investigate this matter urgently and issue an official apology. Now, Pride In London has issued a formal apology to Linda via an open letter, with Linda’s long-standing friend and Equality, Diversity and Inclusion trailblazer, Sinitta, speaking out in support.
After overhearing derogatory comments during Pride In London meetings, Sinitta spoke out about feeling like a “pawn” as her final Pride experience had been a combination of “half-happy, half sad”. She remarked that she overheard a member state: “We don’t want the hairy lesbians muscling in on it, do we?”, to which she was deeply shocked.
In an exclusive statement issued to DIVA Magazine, Sinitta has said: “Thank you for the apology, Pride In London, on behalf of everyone who works towards a kinder, more accepting world. I am sorry for any pain and discomfort I caused by exposing this. I am a proud ally, and I pray that this does not become a bigger internal struggle within the community. The reckless comments of one individual does not define or represent the unity we both desire and deserve across the LGBTQI community”.
“I hope we can be camp, fun, and edgy without being hurtful to each other. Love and kindness is so sexy to me. I also hope that we never lose our sense of humour, as that is what has gotten us through so many difficult times. I love that nowadays, we don’t need to be defined or categorised by our gender or sexuality. We can choose to be however we want to be”, she concluded.
Responding to Pride In London’s apology, Linda Riley stated:
“DIVA will now lift their blanket refusal to promote Pride in London events and continue to support a Pride we love and believe in during its 50th year of celebration. We felt it important that we took this initial stand against Pride in London, as we felt the core values of diversity and inclusion within our intersectional community were not being valued or respected.
In 2021 we withdrew our support of Pride in London, where we were the founding partners of the hugely successful DIVA Women’s Stage, when allegations of racism where made by a former board member. When Pride in London were further vilified and called out for lesbophobic abuse within their organisation, DIVA made a concerted effort behind the scenes to encourage Pride in London to investigate and issue an apology to LGBTQI women and non-binary people. We are delighted that this has finally been resolved and Pride in London have unreservedly apologise.
DIVA will now become more involved with the 50th year celebrations, which are for everyone in the LGBTQI community. We look forward to a celebration of Pride in London on 2 July, where we hope to once again march with pride and have a float celebrating LGBTQI women and non-binary people”.
To read more about Pride In London’s open letter, click here.
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