LGBT+ charity 'disappointed' to miss Highbridge & Burnham-on-Sea Carnival after name dispute

  • Video report by Max Walsh

An LGBT+ charity says it is disappointed after it was not allowed to take part in the Highbridge & Burnham-on-Sea Carnival over 'concerns' with their entry name.

North Somerset LGBT+ Forum's '50 Shades of Gay (a celebration of Pride)' was designed to pay tribute to the 50th anniversary of the first Pride event in the UK.

The committee for Highbridge & Burnham-on-Sea Carnival wrote a letter to the charity on 1 October which said 'there were concerns with how the public would react to the name'. It added they would 'not allow' them to join the procession.

The letter also suggested they had broken county carnival rules related to self-promotion and sponsorship. 

Paul Stoodley, who sponsored the charity's entry, said: "It's definitely discrimination. It's homophobia. I cannot see any other reason why they would not allow an entry into their carnival."

The committee insisted the charity was not banned from taking part and any issues that arose were due to carnival rules, not discrimination.

The charity's entry has already taken part at Bridgwater Carnival and is due to join processions in Glastonbury and Weston-super-Mare later in November.

Burnham-on-Sea & Highbridge Town Councillor Ross Baker says he is disappointed with the way situation had been handled.

Mr Baker said: "Disappointed, upset, a little bit of anger. I like to encourage diversity and social inclusion.

"Instead of judging it by name, the council should have found out what they were planning to put into the procession."