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Pride in London has launched its new campaign ‘Freedom to…’ today, calling on Londoners to communicate what freedom means to them in celebration of equality and diversity. The campaign, which is expected to reach millions of people through Facebook and Twitter – as well as via a two week advertising campaign across the capital – will encourage people to express what freedom means to them by writing a short message on a piece of paper or card, taking a selfie and posting it under the hashtag #FreedomTo.
The campaign has already secured support from a number of celebrities including Graham Norton, Kieron Richardson (Hollyoaks), Peter Tatchell, Louie Spence and Sinitta.
Graham Norton posted #FreedomTo be camp! while news presenter Jane Hill posted #FreedomTo be a great wife whilst standing next to her wife. Kieron Richardson said freedom allowed him to kiss his boyfriend, and Sinitta stated #FreedomTo strut my stuff down Regent Street! in reference to the annual Pride Parade through central London.
TV presenter Norton commented: ‘Right now we have so many freedoms and yet suddenly all sorts of weird issues are coming up – issues like transphobia or the idea that camp people are somehow betraying the gay community… I just feel like, actually, no! There’s room for everyone. I just think you’ve got to let a diverse community be diverse.’
CJ, a 23-year-old customer services assistant from Lambeth posted #FreedomTo to be Queer and Black and Christian and Kinky and Awesome! before also asking: ‘Why can’t I be all those things? I have the #FreedomTo be anything I want and nobody else can tell me otherwise.’
Inspired by the current ‘selfie’ trend sweeping the nation, the ‘Freedom to…’ campaign provides a simple, fun but creative platform for individuals and community groups to celebrate the role freedom plays in their daily lives – the freedoms that make Britain the best country for LGBT* people to live in, according to ILGA.
It is hoped the campaign will also draw attention to the millions around the world for whom freedom is denied, and act as a reminder of why the high-profile and inclusive celebration of Pride is still so important for the LGBT community – not only within London but around the world.
Michael Salter, Chair for Pride in London, said: ‘Pride in London is not just celebration of our capital’s brilliant diversity – it’s an opportunity to acknowledge how much we have achieved whilst also recognising there is still much work to do to win true freedom for everyone, not just in London, but around the world.
‘Our new campaign is about making sure that everyone has a chance to tell their story and be part of the celebration and campaigning of Pride in London. The “Freedom to…” theme celebrates the freedoms that Londoners have fought for, enjoy, and campaign to extend, allowing people to make a really personal statement about what freedom is most important to them and why – whether it’s freedom to campaign for international rights, freedom to continue changing attitudes in the UK, or the simple freedom to kiss their partner goodbye at a bus stop without the need to self-censor.’
He continued that it gives people a reason to pause and be proud of London, the UK and the freedoms we enjoy on a daily basis, remembering those around the world who can’t be themselves and live in fear in those 77 countries where homosexuality is illegal and in communities everywhere that are oppressive or intolerant of all kinds of minorities.
Pride in London is a week-long festival celebrating all aspects of the LGBT community that takes place in the capital from 22–29 June, with the central London parade, festival in Trafalgar Square and activities in Soho taking place on Saturday 28 June.
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