National Trust in u-turn in row over gay pride badges

The volunteers have been told they will not be allowed to perform meet and greet roles if they decline to wear a rainbow badge or lanyard

The volunteers have been told they will not be allowed to perform meet and greet roles if they decline to wear a rainbow badge or lanyard

I am certainly sympathetic to the aim to remove intolerance towards the gay community, but am also opposed to the intolerance shown by "liberal" organisations towards those who do not wish to wear their emblems.

The National Trust has reversed a decision to make some volunteers work away from the public after they refused to wear sexual equality symbols.

The National Trust said its campaign was a matter of "exploring our LGBTQ heritage" as part of its Prejudice and Pride campaign.

After concerted pressure in the rightwing press in support of those who refused to wear the badges, the National Trust has capitulated and now says wearing the badges is "optional".

The move came after a new film made by the National Trust revealed that Robert Wyndham Ketton-Cremer, the hall's last owner who bequeathed it to the nation, was gay.

Several volunteers on the estate were reported to have agreed with them.

"I find it highly unlikely that those members support the compulsory wearing of any political or religious iconography, which would be distinctly un-British, and I would guess it is even more unlikely that they would support one representing the ideology of Cultural Marxism".

Annabel Smith, Head of Volunteering & Participation Development at the National Trust, said: 'All of our staff and volunteers sign up to our core ambition when they join us - we are an organisation that is for ever, for everyone.

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"That was never our intention".

'We are therefore making it clear to volunteers that wearing the badges is optional and a personal decision.

After 24 years of volunteering, it has been a frightful decision to quit.

The badges, which staff have been told to wear, are to mark 50 years since the decriminalisation of homosexuality.

Mike Homes, 72, a volunteer for 13 years said: 'Wymondham-Cremer would have turned in his grave to know what's happening.

She said the film and exhibition about Lord Ketton-Cremer were "sensitive, respectful and celebratory". "He was an intensely private man".

Noting how the change of leadership at the National Trust in recent years, which has seen the overtly political Dame Helen Ghosh cause controversies over climate change and wind farms, Harris-Quinney said: "It would appear their membership has already reduced by 10,000 since the current Chair took over, it seems likely to continue in that direction".

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