A group of teenagers were verbally assaulted while advocating for pride in the Oxfordshire town of Abingdon-on-Thames following the council’s refusal to fly the rainbow flag.
The group of teens, ranging from 15 to 17 years-old organised the event to raise awareness of the issue and support Oxford Pride following the council’s refusal to display the Pride flag, but report that they were met with abusive and homophobic responses from local residents.
When trying to raise money and awareness over the issue the group, some of whom themselves identify as LGBT+, say that they were horrified at the amount of open abuse that they received.
One of the group, 16 year-old Serena Harrop, told reporters ‘I was so shocked because in our generation people aren’t against the LGBT community. We were just trying to raise awareness that some people are gay and it’s a normal thing.’
They told the BBC that the majority of the abusive behaviour came from people from the older generation, with one man telling the group that gay people ‘shouldn’t be near children’, with another telling them that he ‘wouldn’t let a gay babysit.’
Despite having refused to fly the rainbow flag, Abington council leader Mike Badcock has said that he wants to ‘reassure all people living in Abingdon on Thames that they are all valued members of our community’.
He went on to speak about the council’s reasons for choosing to not support Pride by flying the flag, stating that it would give a ‘clear precedent which would mean that the Council would come under pressure for other flags to be flown’, as well as saying that people were misinterpreting their reasons, ‘it would appear willingly by some’.
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