1,000 billboards donated across UK to showcase LGBTQ+ people for Pride month
A thousand digital billboards across the UK have been donated by Clear Channel to showcase and celebrate queer life during Pride month.
The advertising hoardings will be taken over with photographic images created by and featuring members of the LGBTQ+ community celebrating Pride from their homes.
Every summer, towns and cities across the UK including Birmingham are filled with LGBTQ+ people celebrating Pride, but this year that wasn’t going to happen – until now.
New grassroots campaign ‘Pride Inside’ will see queer people take over digital outdoor screens in all four nations of the UK with stunning images of what Pride means to them to ensure their continued visibility this Pride month.
The initiative – the brainchild of writer, performer and drag star Ginger Johnson – is supported by Out of Home media and infrastructure company Clear Channel, which has donated 1,000 digital billboards the length of the country from Glasgow to Southampton.
The campaign aims to represent the full spectrum of the diverse LGBTQ+ community, with more than 120 queer contributors and photographers teaming up to create images from their homes or local public spaces, all socially distanced of course. In Birmingham, these include queer activist Saima Razzaq, who co-lead last year’s Birmingham Pride alongside teacher Andrew Moffat.
Other Brummies featured are Dan and Seana, also photographed by Emma Jones. Nationally, the campaign includes the lead singer of a Belfast queer punk band – together with her pet rat, a Newcastle drag king, an NHS nurse in south London, original members of the Gay Liberation Front and an award-winning engineer who came to the UK as a refugee and went on to named one of the BBC’s top 100 influential women in the world.
The images will appear from Monday June 15 for two weeks, with a potential reach of around 10 million people.
Pride Inside hopes the campaign will inspire other queer people across the UK to carry on the Pride celebrations at home and create their own images, posting them online under the #PrideInsideUK hashtag.
This unique opportunity will also raise awareness of the work of grassroots LGBTQ+ charities, with Pride Inside partnering with LGBT+ Consortium to collect donations to be distributed to organisations across the UK who provide vital services for the queer community.
A specially designed website will feature resources to allow people to learn more about Pride, those taking part in Pride Inside and how they can engage with each other.
The not-for-profit campaign was pulled together in less than a month after the COVID-19 pandemic prompted the cancellation of Pride events across the country.
Ginger Johnson, resident MC at Sink the Pink, the UK’s biggest LGBTQ+ collective, and co-presenter of breakfast TV show Wakey!, said: “Usually we take to the streets for Pride. We take to stages, demos and dance floors. We climb onboard floats or walk shoulder to shoulder with our families and friends but this summer that just isn’t possible. So it’s crucial that LGBTQ+ people from all walks of life are visible and proud in our public spaces even if we can’t be there together in person!”
Ginger added: “Pride is also a chance for our community to reach out to the people who haven’t found pride in their lives yet, who don’t feel safe, who are hidden. It’s our chance to say to them, ‘You are not alone, we are here and we are proud of you.’ Pride has always been an opportunity for us all to learn about each other – to honour our shared experiences, our differences and our collective resilience.
“It’s taken the combined efforts of a whole team of amazing queer people from all over the UK to get this project off the ground and we can’t wait to share it with everyone.”
The photography was co-ordinated by award-winning music and events photographer Corinne Cumming, who said: “We’ve managed to source photographers and subjects from across the LGBTQ+ spectrum, throughout the UK and from many different ethnicities which is so exciting and unique.
“For LGBTQ+ photographers and their subjects to be able to choose how they want to be represented via their art on a national platform, that’s really special.”
Paul Roberts OBE, Chief Executive of LGBT+ Consortium, said: “Covid-19 is having a real impact on our LGBT+ communities. Pride would ordinarily be a time for the visibility and increased awareness of issues facing our communities. This campaign offers a digital alternative and Consortium is delighted to see the diversity and intersectionality of our communities captured through these photographs. I hope this campaign let’s LGBT+ people know you are not alone and there is support out there.”