Wickes sparks backlash over ‘No LGB without the T’ Pride poster as critics accuse DIY store of discriminating against gay customers
- Wickes is facing a backlash over controversial trans rights poster at Pride
- Activist Allison Bailey said the firm had encouraged ‘unlawful discrimination’
- LGB alliance accused Wickes of ‘parroting catchphrases from lobby groups’
- Supporters praised hardware giant for its inclusive motto on show in East Sussex
DIY store Wickes is facing a backlash over a controversial float at Brighton Pride promoting trans rights.
The hardware company took part in the parade through the seaside resort with a float featuring a poster reading, ‘no LGB without the T’ at the weekend.
The words were emblazoned over the pink and white transgender flag, with the strapline, ‘we stand with our trans siblings now and forever’ underneath it.
But Wickes’s campaign sparked a heated debate on Twitter with campaigners on both sides wading in to share their views.
Activist and friend of J K Rowling Allison Bailey tweeted: ‘To be clear, this is Wickes promoting unlawful discrimination against lesbians, gays & bisexuals & making our rights conditional on supporting another group.’
Ms Bailey is a long-standing activist for the LGB alliance, a charity which promotes and supports gay, lesbian and bisexual people.
But other supporters praised the hardware giant for its inclusive motto on show in East Sussex, with one tweeting: ‘Wickes have won Twitter today… well done to whoever made the decision to do Pride right’.
Hardware store Wickes dived into the trans debate with the poster ‘no LGB without the T’
Ms Bailey is a long-standing activist for the LGB alliance, a charity which promotes and ‘support gay, lesbian and bisexual people’
In a statement Wickes said: ‘We were proud to take part in Brighton Pride this weekend to celebrate their 30th year, and even prouder of our LGBTQ+ Employee Network who work hard every day to make sure everyone can feel at home at Wickes. We are an inclusive home improvement employer and retailer and support the LGBTQ+ community in its entirety.’
The poster prompted a lively discussion online, with activists on either side of the debate weighing in.
Youth Charity worker and former political candidate Nick Buckley posted: ‘Companies are now telling gay people what they should accept – all in the name of diversity. Any gay people use Wickes? Will you continue?’
One social media user said: ‘I’m confused by the messaging. Are they saying there are no lesbians, gays or bisexuals without trans people?’
Praising the slogan, another wrote: ‘Their rivals must be gutted they didn’t beat them to ‘no LGBTQ without B&Q.’
They added: ‘I will say, if corporates are going to be at Pride, it’s good to see actual bold messaging.’
Managing Director of the LGB Alliance Kate Barker said: ‘We must assume that Wickes have not understood the significance of this slogan.
‘They cannot seriously believe that lesbians, gay men and bisexuals may not organise in their own interests without the permission of trans people.
They added: ‘It highlights the dangers for businesses in parroting catchphrases fed to them by lobby groups.’
Wickes’s campaign caused a storm on social media with campaigners on both sides butting into the debate
Last week Stonewall was forced to row back a tweet claiming children as young as two could be transgender.
Sharing a Metro article about a ‘non-conforming’ four-year-old whose nursery doesn’t respect their attitudes, it wrote: ‘Research suggests that children as young as 2 recognise their trans identity.
‘Yet, many nurseries and schools teach a binary understanding of pre-assigned gender.
‘LGBTQ-inclusive and affirming education is crucial for the wellbeing of all young people!’
But in the face of criticism over the tweet, the charity responded with a statement clarifying what it had meant.
It wrote: ‘We were commenting on an article written by a parent reflecting on how their child was being cared for at nursery. The parent was worried that their child was being pressured to fit in with stereotypes about boys and girls.
‘While we don’t actively work on nursery education, we believe that young children should be able to play, explore and learn about who they are, and the world around them, without having adults’ ideas imposed upon them.
‘We support existing provisions to ensure primary and secondary school pupils learn about LGBTQ+ identities in an age-appropriate and timely manner.’
Polling company YouGov found Britons largely uninterested in the trans debate
Wickes were also campaigning against conversion therapy in Brighton which can in extreme forms include physical violence and torturous practices.
The UK government promised to ban the practice in 2018 but the legislation put forward earlier this year did not include trans people.