A Chester businessman who made a stand against anti-gay protesters at Chester Pride says he wanted to ‘make a point’ in favour of equality and diversity.
A video of Big Heritage managing director Dean Paton marching up to a group of religious protesters at Saturday’s diversity festival and waving a banner reading ‘Homophobes are statistically more likely to be gay’, has been shared widely online.
Thousands of people lined the streets for the third annual Chester Pride, a festival celebrating the city’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender culture and equality, and local dignitaries were among the hundreds showing their support by taking part in the colourful parade that weaved throughout the city centre.
Not involved in the parade were a group of religious protesters who stationed themselves on Bridge Street holding bibles and placards that quoted bible references and featured sentences like ‘Pride comes before destruction.’
Dean, who had anticipated the protesters’ presence in advance, decided to strategically stand next to them holding his yellow banner so the arrow pointed towards them, in a move he described as ‘pro-equality.’
“I did it because our organisation is about equality and we promote it as much as we can,” he told The Chronicle. “I don’t see how waving 2000-year-old books should justify the bigotry of these people, I just wanted to make a point in a way, ridiculing them for it.
“The banner didn’t just quote a made up article, we academically researched the facts and even stated the article reference at the bottom.
“But we didn’t expect it to go viral like it has, we just wanted to give the protesters a kick in the teeth really but they didn’t even seem to notice we were doing it.
Dean, a married father-of-two, added: “I just think people like that ruin anything good. There is no room for that type of thing in Chester.
“Pride this year was amazing and this was the first year we got involved in the parade. I’m pro-equality and not a fan of religion being thrown in people’s faces. I just think there’s no need for hate speech in this day and age. I don’t get why they’re allowed to do it. Threats about being burned in hell for who you fall in love with - I just think it’s ridiculous.”
He said: “I don’t want to take away from the organisers because it was an amazing event. There was a proper buzz in the city this year, everyone on the rows seemed to just stop what they were doing, I loved how the local dignitaries came together for the event. It was a real city effort.”
What do you think of Dean's video? Did you see it happen at Pride? Let us know in the comments below