Here in Leeds the celebrations were tempered somewhat by a Twitter storm emanating from a homophobic outburst by the proprietor of several city centre venues. Lewis Cuddy is co-owner of two pubs, The Wrens and the Central, as well as late-night bar Milo's.
So once again it's time for lots of people to celebrate the fact that they are all socially unable to be normal.Well done. When is Leeds first peado pride event? Or is it just the same thing. Bonkers.
Instantly confronted and insulted, he made no retraction. With his privacy settings turned right up, he thought his comments wouldn't be seen by the wider public and his customers. He seems unaware of the ability to tweet a screengrab.
As his comments circulated one or two of his friends defended him saying he had apologised, yet couldn't provide a link or quote to prove it. Challenged on Facebook about it he did not apologise in any way.
It's my bad for writing what I did but it was a status that was meant for my close friends. I assumed all my friends would take it in the same humour as all my other posts. I write constantly on my facebook wall with stupid comments and sometime close to the bone comments (as todays post) which sometimes get a reaction. No harm meant but I can see why a few people have taken it personal. I feel saddened if this cas caused any genuine hurt to anyone.
As Tom Flay points out, 'close to the bone' implies that there is truth in saying all LGBT people are unable to be normal and may well be paedophiles. He does not retract his sentiment at all, nor explain why he feels that way. He merely regrets that is has been made public, as tags on being saddened if - if! - it has been hurtful to anyone.
Like a man deciding to redouble his digging rate to get out of a hole, several days later Cuddy posted on Leeds Music Forum.
Good morning. My name is Lewis Cuddy and I am responsible for writing the said comment on my private Facebook wall.
I have tried my best to keep out of this whole saga but as someone who posts on here I think it is only fair to explain my actions.
Any of my close friends know that I have a massive problem with gay pride, not because of gay people but the attitude of the council to street parties. I asked the council last year after the leeds pride even on how I would go about closing the street outside milo for a massive band day. I was told in no uncertain way than unless it was for a minority event would this be allowed.
This is what angers me, why should a minority have different rights to the majority. Maybe saying that paedophiles should get their own minority event was a bit strong but clearly the people who my comments were aimed at would understand.
Grabbing a screen shot of something I wrote and taking it out of context is not only rude but a betrayal of friendship. Safe to say this person has been removed from my Facebook friends.
So quite simply that is it. Nothing more I can say.
Ps. To anyone who thinks I ruined the wrens, sorry. Without my investment and hard work the wrens would have been stripped out and closed down over a year ago. Probably just a rotting mess right now.
If we are to believe this reasoning - unmentioned for days in the aftermath of the initial tweet - then it shows an extraordinary ability to do logic gymnastics.
If his issue really is that Pride gets road closures of the kind he would like to have, surely his ire should be directed at the council who decide on these things, rather than one of the beneficiaries.
More to the point, why does he single out only one beneficiary? Many events get road closures in Leeds. There are far more LGBT people than amateur long distance runners, yet Leeds Half Marathon or the 10k Race For Life gets much greater road space. Where is Cuddy's bigoted rant about runners?
He says that maybe - maybe! - saying a paedophile event is equivalent to Pride is 'a bit strong'. He didn't only say that, though. He suggested they could already be one and the same thing. This is not just a homophobic attack but one that uses the darkest, most malevolent stereotypes. He maximises his contribution to the cancer of homophobia that ruins and even claims lives.
Later this month streets in Chapeltown will be full of the carnival. Will Cuddy be tweeting 'send the raping thieving n*****s back'?
As it stands, it seems his apoplexy at events in the city centre unorganised by is confined to Pride, and Pride alone. There is a well-known piece of pop psychology that says we know what virulent homophobia really says about a man's inner life.
But irrespective of who he is when he turns out the light, on the outside Lewis Cuddy is an unabashed homophobic bigot. As a publican he has a privileged position serving the community. It is incumbent on such people to serve everybody well. If you want to run a B and B but are a homophobe, tough. By the same token, public facilities such as pubs have no place in the hands of people who direct hate speech at a serious proportion of their clientele.
Beyond that, it's not about the LGBT people who walk through the doors at the Wrens or Milo's. It is, contrary to what Cuddy says, not something to 'take personal'. This isn't about individuals, this is about equality and freedom from fear and repression. An attack on the rights of anyone for their colour, sexuality, gender or any other aspect is an attack on equality itself.
That Cuddy seems too dimwitted to grasp that concept is disappointing. That he is not only prepared to add weight to bigotry but defend it is unforgivable. Whether he is an ideological bigot or just an overconfident, loudmouthed, hard-of-thinking bigot is irrelevant.
By his steadfast refusal to apologise, let alone examine his discriminatory position, he proves himself unworthy to hold a place in a community that wants to have tolerance and equality. Anyone who shares those values should not be giving him their money. It's time to boycott his pubs and get anyone who isn't a homophobic bigot to to the same.