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A bus company has been forced to apologise after announcing it was ‘rebranding’ one of its rainbow Pride buses to instead support the NHS.

It all started when Plymouth Citybus announced on 16 May that they were to “re-brand (sic) our Pride bus to our rainbow 'NHS' bus”:

In response to the post, many LGBTQ+ people thought it was an attempt to erase the Pride meaning behind the rainbow.

Under the Facebook post, one person replied:

Ummmm, I mean it's great that you're supporting the NHS, but did you have to erase queer support to do it..? Rehashing the Pride bus just shows that your support for LGBTQ+ causes was a publicity stunt.

While another responded:

Seriously?!? Absolute facepalm moment here City bus. You can’t just scrub off your support for the LGBTQ+ community when it’s no longer as topical as another group of individuals. This is SO insensitive. Of course I support the NHS but not in place of standing with Pride and the community around it. This makes a mockery of your hollow gestures.

While over on Twitter, the outrage was equally as damning:

The social media backlash led to Plymouth Citybus releasing a statement on both Facebook and Twitter.

It read:

The apology garnered mixed reactions on social media, with some welcoming it, but many saying it seemed hollow and tone-deaf:

Local LGBTQ+ group, Plymouth Pride, released a statement on 18 May to say they were in conversation with Plymouth Citybus over the controversy.

They assured people the “rebranding” was only a “temporary measure” and there will be a new design for a 2020 Pride bus from the bus company.

Plymouth Pride is scheduled to go ahead on 8 August, but the organisation is currently in “discussions with the council and other partner organisations regarding a contingency date later in the summer” should they have to postpone due to coronavirus.

It comes about after major LGBTQ+ events like Pride in London, Birmingham Pride and Brighton Pride have all cancelled their celebrations.

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