'Certainly not dispirited' - LGBTQ community respond to flag removal

Thousands of people march through the city centre to celebrate Norwich Pride.Picture: Nick Butcher

Thousands march through the city for Norwich Pride in 2017 - Credit: Nick Butcher

Norwich remains a proud and diverse city which will not be dispirited - that's the message coming from the LGBTQ community after a pride flag was removed.

The flag was taken down from the Artichoke pub on Magdalen Road on Thursday, the second time this has happened since 2019. 

But Michelle Savage, trustee for Norwich Pride, said the act will not deter from the huge amount of work being done to make the city inclusive.

She said: "We know there is homophobia and transphobia that exists in the world and hate crimes have gone up over the years, but we still believe Norwich is a fantastically supportive city for the LGBTQ community.

Michelle Savage and friends flying the flag for Norwich Pride.Photo: Bill Smith

Michelle Savage and friends flying the flag for Norwich Pride.Photo: Bill Smith - Credit: Bill Smith - Archant

"Tens of thousands of people come out every year for Norwich Pride and this year people will take part in different ways with dozens and dozens of Pride inspired events.

"We are expecting hundreds of people to fly flags in their houses and gardens."

Ms Savage continued: "Although we are disappointed this happened at the Artichoke for the second time, we are certainly not dispirited by it.

"I do not think they are going to win. By July 31, this whole city is going to be a rainbow."

The owner of the Artichoke pub said they were disappointed to discover their pride flag had been torn down

The owner of the Artichoke pub said they were disappointed to discover their pride flag had been torn down. - Credit: Kevin Tweedy

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Among the events taking place for Norwich Pride on July 31 are a LGBTQ history audio trail and a rainbow trail. Norwich Arts Centre will also be holding a Pride Ball on the Friday night. 

Ms Savage added: "We do not want to be tolerated, we want to be celebrated.

"We have a vibrant LGBTQ community in Norwich with Stephen Crocker, chief executive of the Theatre Royal among those doing amazing work." 

In response to the flag removal, Di Cunningham, founder of Norwich City supporters group Proud Canaries, said the city remains a place where LGBT people feel welcome and safe to be themselves.

Di Cunningham of Proud Canaries

Di Cunningham of Proud Canaries - Credit: Archant

She added: "We've seen an increase in hate directed at the Queer community online over the pandemic and in real life too-even here, the vandalism of the Bimini mural was reminded that even in our Fine City there are toxic trolls.

"I'd like to think most Norwich folks step up and challenge hatred and discrimination when they see it."

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