Inclusive murals in Swansea vandalised using homophobic messages

LGBTQIA+ murals in Swansea were vandalised with homophobic and transphobic messages during the pride month.

Coastal Housing commissioned queer artist, Natasha John to create an artwork for the LGBTQIA+ community as part of Pride month down King’s Lane in the city centre of Swansea.

Natasha John decided to clean the mural after hearing about the vandalism.

Natasha John from Llanelli said, "As a queer woman, I was looking forward to creating the piece of art to promote inclusion and diversity.

I was really excited to be given the opportunity to create work in a public setting especially during Pride month, because I think it's really important that queer artists are appreciated and celebrated."

Later on the mural was vandalised with offensive, transphobic and homophobic messages. The vandals wrote "Only 2 genders" on the trans element of the Pride Progress flag.

The Pride Progress flag was scribbled with "only 2 genders"

When Natasha heard about the vandalism from her friend, she immediately went to clean the mural.

She added, "I find it really upsetting that my work was vandalised. Pride month is meant to celebrate inclusivity and positivity and not exclude any particular group within the LGBTQIA+ community.

Even though Pride Month is over, these issues still exist. So what happens next? How are we going to work together as a community to make sure that trans and non-binary people don't feel ostracised?

This is more than Pride month. I think it's definitely something that needs to be considered for the whole year and not just for a month."

The murals were vandalised using transphobic messages

Since then the trans flag has been repainted and all the vandalism and stickers have been cleaned.

Before the mural went out, the artist and the company had discussed the possibility of vandalism.

Natasha mentioned “I had a conversation with Coastal Housing about the potential of this happening due to the nature of the work, as it could potentially be considered controversial. But, you hope that society has changed a little bit."

Coastal Housing’s Chief Executive, Debbie Green said: “In recent years, we have evolved our approach in King’s Lane to providing space for visual artists from under-represented groups.

We were gutted to see hate like this, on our doorstep, directed at a community that includes members of our team and that we stand alongside as a company. 

King’s Lane is a thoroughfare for many of our staff and responses have included anger, hurt and frustration that such prejudice still exists in the city in 2023.

Having commissioned the Pride Progress flag, we naturally felt a responsibility to address the damage quickly once we were made aware of it. We also reported the incident to the police."