A LEADING North East LGBT+ charity is calling on Newcastle’s Utilita Arena to cancel an anti-LGBT+ preacher’s planned appearance later this year.
Northern Pride, which organises the annual Pride festival in Newcastle, believes the popular venue should reconsider giving a platform to American evangelist Franklin Graham – the eldest son of the late Billy Graham – on 3 June.
The controversial speaker has publicly promoted homophobia, claiming 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.”
Following protests in other cities where the tour is due to take place, ACC Liverpool and Sheffield’s FlyDSA Arena have cancelled their events and supporters are urging venues in other cities, including Utilita Arena, to follow suit.
Ste Dunn, chair of Northern Pride, believes there is no place for anti-LGBT+ views in today’s society.
“We are really disappointed to hear that Utilita Arena is planning to give a platform to Franklin Graham, whose statements about the LGBT+ community are offensive and completely unacceptable,” he said.
“Franklin Graham’s views are wholly inconsistent with our city, which is preparing to welcome huge celebrations and tens of thousands of people this summer for UK Pride.
“We hope that Utilita Arena will show their support for the LGBT+ community by following the example set by other cities and cancelling his event in June.”
A spokesperson for Utilita Arena said: “We are aware of the concerns raised regarding the Franklin Graham event scheduled at the Utilita Arena in June.
“We are currently talking with our partners and relevant stakeholders in order to come to a measured and fair conclusion.”
To sign a petition for the cancellation of the event, visit http://chng.it/y6M8tLm4sC
For more information about Northern Pride, visit www.northern-pride.co.uk or search northernprideuk on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.