A Home Office stall at UK Black Pride in London has been removed by the organisers "in light of [its] continued discrimination against the communities we represent".
The event, which is set to take place in Haggerston Park on Sunday, 7 July, celebrates Pride among marginalised communities, including those of colour as well as refugees and asylum seekers.
UK Black Pride revealed its decision in a statement, writing: “In light of the Home Office's continued discrimination against the communities we represent, and the work we and other organisations connected to us do in support of LGBTQ refugees and asylum seekers, the UK Black Pride board of directors has taken the decision to remove the Home Office's stall from our event on Sunday 7 July in Haggerston Park.
“When we approved their application to have a stall, we were under the impression the stall would be manned by the Home Office's internal LGBTQ network, Spectrum.”
We feel a deep commitment to LGBTQ people of colour, wherever they work, and felt compelled to offer the network an opportunity to engage with the UK Black Pride community about the work they may be undertaking internally to address the Home Office's terrible practices against the communities we represent.
On reflection, and after concerns raised on social media, we realise it was an error in judgement to allow the Home Office a space at UK Black Pride.
Our priority will always be the safety and wellbeing of LGBTQ people of African, Asian, Caribbean, Latin American and Middle Eastern descent. We are grateful that the community has raised their concerns with us and we are sorry for any alarm caused at the announcement that the Home Office would be at UK Black Pride.
The news was welcome by the LGBT+ community.
This year’s Black Pride will have a headline performance from Grammy award-winning producer MNEK, as well as performances from Aaron Carty’s Beyoncé Experience, Toya Delazey and Nate Ethan.
In response to Black Pride's decision, a Home Office spokesperson told indy100:
The Home Office is committed to supporting the LGBT+ community, both as employees and as an integral part of the public we serve, and we are disappointed by this decision.
This government has a proud record of providing protection for asylum seekers fleeing persecution because of their sexual orientation or gender identity and all such claims are carefully considered in light of all the evidence available.
Last year, more than 7,000 people attended Black Pride in Vauxhall, and speaking to indy100, co-founder Phyll Opoku said:
Inclusion is absolutely key, for UK Black Pride. It’s about making sure that our brothers and sisters and siblings across the waters and here, whether you’re from Bangladesh, Pakistan, whether you’re Afghanistan, Iraqi, whether you’re Nigerian, Ghanaian, Zimbabwe, Uganda, you know that this is a place for you that’s safe, where you belong, where you feel supported, where you can just celebrate who you are and see other people that look like you, feel like you.
The Home Office has been at the centre of controversy and criticism for the way they treat immigrants and asylum seekers.
‘PN,’ as the unnamed woman has been called, is one of thousands of asylum seekers whose immigration cases were fast-tracked under a new system introduced in 2005 and came to an end in 2015 after it was ruled "structurally unfair".