In an ironic twist, it has come to light that pieces from Primark’s Pride range are being manufactured in countries which are well known for their LGBT+ rights abuses, such as China, Turkey and Myanmar.
The range of t-shirts, badges, caps, and other accessories emblazoned with the pride flag and carried in stores across the UK, Europe and the US were created with the participation of LGBT+ charity Stonewall, who will receive a percentage of the proceeds. Initially this was hailed as a positive step, but the latest information has thrown a new light over the situation.
Of the countries highlighted, it is actually illegal to be gay in Myanmar with possible jail sentences of up to 10 years for those convicted. China recently hit the headlines when they were blocked from screening the Eurovision final after they censored LGBT+ content, including refusing to screen Ireland’s entry, Ryan O’Shaughnessy, not to mention their decision to crack down on the speaking or sharing of LGBT+ content on social media. Turkey is notorious for its homophobic treatment of the LGBT+ community, its capital Ankara going so far as to ban all gay festivals, films, events and exhibitions.
As if that wasn’t enough, Primark also came under fire from the Pride Organisers Network who were annoyed that 20% of the monies collected from sales of the pride range would go to Stonewall rather than to actual Pride festivals. Their statement read, “Stonewall who, whilst they attend some Prides, do not organise the events themselves. All Pride organisations are voluntary bodies that struggle every year to raise the funds necessary to hold these major public events, most of which are free to attend. In the last week, in one city where Primark will be selling these products, the Pride has announced it is scaling back its event due to a lack of funds. This is a daily reality for most Pride organisers.”
To add a further ironic twist, Stonewall, who will profit from the pride range sales, actually cut ties with the London Pride march, refusing to attend this year due to their views on the festival’s lack of diversity and inclusion.
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