Some ugly stickers have been spotted in east London, declaring the area a “gay free zone” which is wrong when read as fact and wrong when interpreted as a potential outcome of local regeneration. Gay-friendly bars in Shoreditch, a school in Whitechapel and possibly other areas yet to be discovered have had the message of intolerance, distributed by an as yet unconfirmed group. While police investigate who could be behind these incitements to hatred and abuse, locals have been fighting back.
A group of eight friends spent last Friday touring the area in a Walk of Love, going to the spots where these anti-gay messages have been seen, defacing them and replacing them with messages of love, tolerance and understanding. Instead of fighting fire with more fire, the group are pouring soothing waters in the form of pasted quotes by Indira Gandhi, Anne Frank and Erica Jong, taping over the offending stickers not with more intolerance of their intolerance but with a different message altogether.
Another Walk of Love is scheduled for tonight, starting at 6pm, setting off from Shoreditch Town Hall with the approval of Hackney and Tower Hamlets councils, with the aim of changing the message to change hearts and minds. Bring your own quotes, masking tape and open mind to the walk. More information on the Walk of Love can be found at the Walk of Love Facebook events page.