Heathrow Airport placed Pride campaign adverts near Royal Brunei Airlines’ check-in area after Brunei briefly made gay sex punishable by death earlier this year.
Royal Brunei Airlines is wholly owned by the government of Brunei. Heathrow Airport is located on the outskirts of London.
In May, after international condemnation, the Southeast Asian country backed down on implementing the law.
John Holland-Kaye, CEO of Heathrow Airport discussed the move with GSN at this morning’s launch of Heathrow’s 2019 Pride activities.
‘It’s also about championing British values to the world’
‘What I realized last year on our Pride Day was, this isn’t just about making sure people can bring themselves to work, be relaxed about who they are and feel very welcome,’ he explained. ‘It’s also about championing British values to the world.
‘There are 80 million international travelers coming through here, very often to countries where it’s illegal [to be LGBTI], or even punishable by the death penalty to be gay. We need to stand up for our values.’
‘That’s exactly what we did earlier this year with Royal Brunei,’ he furthermore explained. ‘Where we used the Pride advertising to focus on the gates and check-in areas where Royal Brunei flew out of, to stand up for British values.
‘I’m really proud that we can do that. There’s a great opportunity to do that with other nationalities. To make sure liberal values that make Britain such a great place to live are shared with the world.’
‘We were a small part of a much bigger campaign’
‘It was a quiet thing,’ Holland-Kaye added, of focusing the Pride advertising near Royal Brunei. ‘But it was the faces of our security officers, colleagues and our fantastic Pride champions who were being promoted to travelers to Brunei.’
Asked about the response to the moving of the Pride posters, Holland-Kaye said the Foreign Office got in touch with the airport.
‘Ultimately, we were a small part of a much bigger campaign which has led to a change in policy in Brunei,’ he said. ‘We had inquiries from the Foreign Office about how far we might choose to go. But actually, it was all done in a very positive spirit. I’m glad we were able to stand up for our values.’
Heathrow Airport unveiled the faces of its 2019 Welcome Campaign in Terminal 2 this morning. The adverts feature a mix of LGBTI employees of Heathrow Airport and Gay Star News/Digital Pride competition winners.
Pride in London takes place this Saturday 6 July.