Our Statement on the PinkNews Awards

Firstly, we are very flattered to have been nominated for the PinkNews awards. We’ve always had a deep respect for PinkNews and their output and this is unlikely to change. Indeed, we’ve used PinkNews articles as jumping-off points for our own stories and have cited them as sources on countless occasions.

However, we note that among the event’s sponsors are Lloyds Banking Group and The Royal Bank of Canada. These banks’ investments are deeply rooted in the climate crisis and stand against our values.

According to Fossil Free Pride, The Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) is the no.1 financier of fossil fuels in the world. Collectively, RBC and Lloyds Banking Group have poured over $267 billion into fossil fuel projects worldwide since 2016. Both banks have actually increased their fossil finance activities in recent years. Without financing from banks, companies such as BP and Shell could not continue extractive projects which exploit communities and our planet.

Fossil fuels are the main driver of climate breakdown, this is irrefutable. Activists who have stood against these interests have been criminalised and some have even shown up dead as a result of their work, with fossil fuel companies such as Shell implicated in their deaths. The climate crisis has a disproportionate impact on people in the Global South and the effects of global challenges always disproportionally affect minorities, including the LGBTQ+ community: because while the climate crisis does not discriminate, relief and recovery practices do.

Click here to hear directly from communities impacted by fossil fuel financing.

“Fossil fuels are a dead end – for our planet, for humanity, and yes, for economies.” – UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ statement on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) 2022 report

With this in mind, we do not think that accepting sponsorship from fossil fuel financiers is acceptable.

Bad companies and state actors using the LGBTQ+ community as a shield from criticism has a name: pinkwashing. This is something we’ve spoken out against many, many times on our podcast and will continue to do so. Companies sponsoring corporate LGBTQ+ events is how they try to make themselves look good, when in reality their actions are harming people and our planet every day. We will not be complicit in this.

It is with much regret that we withdraw from the event, and we encourage other nominees to do the same, as well as signing the open letter from Fossil Free Pride. If this sponsorship issue is addressed, we may reconsider. If it is not, then we may be able to infer something about where the PinkNews Awards’ loyalties really lie.

We urge Pink News and other LGBTQ+ organisations to sign the Fossil Free Pride Pledge, which involves adopting an ethical sponsorship policy and not accepting sponsorships from fossil fuel companies or financial institutions that invest in fossil fuels.

Instead of the awards on October 18th, find us at the Oily Money Out protest against the Oil and Money Conference on October 14th-20th in London.

We hope to see you there!

The WTT!? Team