The LGBT Pride parade in London this weekend will include a bloc representing multinational arms company BAE Systems.
As one of the world's largest arms companies, BAE supply weapons to some of the world's most homopobic regimes, as well as sending weapons into war zones around the world.
LGBT+ members of the Peace Pledge Union (PPU), Britain's leading pacifist network, said that Pride organisers are insulting queer people in countries such as Saudi Arabia
, armed by BAE Systems, where LGBT+ people are routinely imprisoned, tortured and killed.
The bloc at the Pride parade tomorrow (Saturday 2 July) will technically represent Outlink, a group of LGBT+ staff at BAE. But in previous years, they have waved banners promoting BAE as a company, while BAE have used the bloc's presence at Pride to boast on social media that they support human rights.
The PPU emphasised that they have no problem with employees of BAE attending Pride as individuals. Instead, they object to an arms company being allowed to use Pride to pinkwash their image and pose as supporters of equality.
Rachel Melly, an LGBT+ rights activist and a member of the Peace Pledge Union's elected Council, said:
"BAE Systems are complicit in human rights abuses, state suppression and fatal conflict around the world. Although arms companies are using Pride as a PR opportunity to sanitise their image, profiting from death and destruction has nothing to do with LGBTQ+ liberation and equality."
The PPU has long spoken out against uniformed military blocs at Pride, pointing to the role of the UK armed forces
in training the forces of homophobic regimes such as Saudi Arabia.
A protest by PPU members and allies against an army recruitment stall at York Pride in 2018 led to the armed forces not being invited back there in subsequent years.
The PPU is a founding member of the No Pride in War campaign, an informal alliance of LGBT+ activists, peace campaigners and human rights groups who challenge attempts by armed forces and arms companies to pinkwash their image and misrepresent themselves as supporters of LGBT+ rights.