Betty Gallacher has slammed the East Sussex County Council after posters promoting Eastbourne Pride were removed.
The 73-year-old was compelled launch the town's first ever Pride parade last year after seeing a moving tribute to the victims of the 2016 Orlando Pulse nightclub shooting and the LGBT celebration was elevated to 'Pride' status this year after previously being referred to as "Mardi Gras" by the local council.
However, after placing 20 posters around the town promoting the event – which is set to happen tomorrow (July 21) – Betty was disgusted to find they were removed within 12 hours after a warning from the county council staff.
The posters were allegedly removed because they were “being a safety hazard” but Betty – who recently won an Attitude Pride Award for organising the event – said it was due to homophobia.
She told the Eastbourne Herald: “I can smell homophobia all over this one. Why? Because posters put in the same place promoting a fun fair had been there for three weeks.
“Why did the council allow those posters to stay up but demanded mine come down immediately?
“When the council worker called she was rude and aggressive. I am appalled.
“All we were trying to do was raise awareness of what we are doing on Saturday. We have made great inroads in recent years to raise awareness of the LGBT community locally.
“Why should we be told we can’t have posters up when the fun fair organisers are allowed?
“Just because our event is for the LGBT community doesn’t mean that we should be treated as second class citizens.”
However a spokesperson for the county council defended their actions and refutes any accusations of homophobia.
In a statement, they said: “Where signs can be placed depends on a number of factors but we do not allow them to be attached to safety railings under any circumstances as this could affect visibility and safety of pedestrians crossing the road.
“We did contact the organisers of the event to give them the opportunity to move their signs from the safety railings, which is not something we would usually do, but were left with no option but to remove them ourselves.
“We would be more than happy to discuss directly with the organisers of Eastbourne Pride alternative locations where the signs can be posted.”