Northern Pride, a leading LGBT+ charity, has called for an upcoming appearance from Franklin Graham at the Utilita Arena to be cancelled.
The charity, which organises the annual Pride festival for Newcastle, has strong beliefs that the Utilita Arena should reconsider allowing Franklin Graham – who is the eldest son of the late Billy Graham – to appear at the venue on 3 June.
Ste Dunn, chair of Northern Pride said: “Sheffield, Liverpool and now Glasgow have cancelled his events in their cities and we hope that Utilita Arena will see sense and agree that Franklin Graham’s values are exactly the opposite of everything this city stands for.”
Franklin Graham is a controversial speaker, who has previously claimed that homosexuality is a “sin”, that Satan was the architect of same-sex marriage and LGBT+ rights, and that gay people are causing a “moral 9/11”.
The events at ACC Liverpool and the FlyDSA Arena in Sheffield, were cancelled following protests and backlash from campaigners. Supporters are encouraging venues in other cities, including Newcastle, Milton Keynes and Birmingham, to follow in their footsteps.
Northern Pride have set up a petition on www.change.org called “End the Franklin Graham UK tour”, in order to gain extra support for their mission.
“In just three days we have had more than 3000 people sign our petition calling for the event to be cancelled and I believe that is a true representation of Newcastle – people rallying together to drive out hate speech and ensure the city is a welcoming place for everyone.”
Cllr Nick Forbes, who appeared on Pride World Radio on 30 January, said:
“Newcastle is a safe and welcoming city and I must make it clear that hate speech in any form is something we are not prepared to accept.”
“Franklin Graham’s previous deplorable remarks which serve only to discriminate evidently do not match up with Newcastle’s engrained values of equality and fairness.”
“In my view, it is just not appropriate given that we still have people who live in fear of their safety, for their security, for their lives and why anyone would want to preach hatred rather than love, I just do not understand.”
You can sign Northern Pride’s petition here.