LGBTI global news 24-7

The gay Olympics symbol that shops just can’t sell

Olympic gay pin badges were applauded when released but two years later, retailers just can’t shift them
The London Olympic's latest pin-badge - 5,000 were made and almost all are still not sold.

London 2012 organizers are making a last ditch effort to sell gay Olympic pin badges as many shops refuse to stock them.

The badges which feature the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic logos combined with an LGBT rainbow flag were unveiled two years ago at a special reception at the headquarters of the LOCOG, the London body running the games.

LOCOG has heralded them as one of the most groundbreaking things it has done to bring lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people into the Olympic celebrations.

But retailers have told the company distributing the badges that nobody wants them so it’s not worth having them in store.

As a result, there are 1,000 of the main Olympic rainbow flag badges left, even though only 5,000 were made initially and 500 of the Paralympic version remain in stock, out of 2012 created.

A new badge, featuring the Olympic logo combined with a rainbow heart, was only released a few months ago and almost all of the original 5,000 are still not sold.

John Wyllie, retail sales manager from Honav UK, which produces and distributes the badges under license from London 2012, told GSN: ‘Very few people stock them. Retailers say “I’m not asked for them”.

‘My view is they are slower selling because the retailers aren’t showing them.’

He revealed that even the official London 2012 stores weren’t stocking the gay pin badges consistently although he has persuaded the London 2012 online shop to make them available in the run-up to World Pride which is coming to the UK capital at the start of next month.

For Andy Wasley from Stonewall, Britain’s leading lesbian, gay and bisexual campaign organization, the poor retail performance of the badges is symbolic of a wider problem.

He told GSN: ‘Rainbow pin badges are, in any event, a poor substitute for doing really serious long-term work to get lesbian, gay and bisexual people into sport.

‘The fact they can’t even sell rainbow pin badges as a fairly tokenistic gesture towards equality speaks volumes about their commitment to equality.’

Read GSN’s previous feature on London 2012 and its LGBT legacy here.

Comment on a news story