read the news // live the culture

London mayor blocks controversial anti-gay bus advert

  Thursday 12th April 2012

“Not gay! Ex-gay, post-gay and proud. Get over it!” This was the advert due to run on London buses which has been  blocked by London Mayor Boris Johnson.

It promoted gay conversion therapy and was backed by the Core Issues Trust whose leader, Mike Davidson, believes “homoerotic behaviour is sinful”. His charity funds “reparative therapy” for gay Christians who believe that they have homosexual feelings, but want to become straight.

The campaign, which was due to appear on 25 different buses over a two-week period, was also backed by Anglican Mainstream, a worldwide orthodox Anglican group whose supporters have equated homosexuality with alcoholism.

CBS Outdoor, the media company that sells the bus advertising sites, said the Committee of Advertising Practice had passed the ad for display and it complied with Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) guidelines.

Controversial advert backed by Christian groups banned from 25 Tfl buses

Controversial advert backed by Christian groups banned from 25 TfL buses.

The Mayor of London said: “It is clearly offensive to suggest that being gay is an illness that someone recovers from and I am not prepared to have that suggestion driven around London on our buses.”

Ken Livingstone, Mr Johnson’s mayoral rival, argued that the issue was an “indication of the weakness of London Tory political leadership when it comes to promoting LGBT equality”.

Johnson ditched the advertising campaign using his discretionary authority as chair of TfL. However, the story of the controversial anti-gay advert seems more complicated, as the Christian groups insisted the advert had been cleared with Transport for London (TfL), which is chaired by the mayor.

The medium used by Christian groups’ anti-gay campaign follows a trend among groups hoping to get the public’s attention.

Both religious groups said they bought the advertising space in response to a campaign advocating same-sex marriage from rights group Stonewall, saying: “Some people are gay, get over it”.

Brian Paddick, the Liberal Democrat mayoral candidate, who is gay, said: “We should be celebrating the diversity for which London is known, not denigrating it. As mayor I want to make London a place that is welcoming to all people, including Christians.”

Annalisa Ratti

More about the author


Share this story


  • Pin It
  • Share on Google+
  • Reddit
  • Stumble
  • LinkedIn

Latest related

Autobahn at The King’s Head | Theatre review
Autobahn at The King’s Head

The King’s Head Theatre is another boxed-in, stuffy one – the perfect accompaniment to the concentrated [read more]

Venice Film Festival 2014: 99 Homes
Venice Film Festival 2014: 99 Homes

Ramin Bahrani manages to take on board two of Hollywood’s most talented actors in his latest effort recounting the [read more]

Venice Film Festival 2014: Birdman
Venice Film Festival 2014: Birdman

Just like last year, it’s a movie by a Mexican director to open the festival. Alejandro González Iñárritu who [read more]

Final Form at Hoxton Square Bar and Kitchen | Live review
Final Form at Hoxton Square Bar and Kitchen

Melding jangling synth, heavy drums and rattling guitars, electro-pop six-piece Final Form feature bold and gutsy [read more]

The Graveltones at Underworld | Live review
The Graveltones at Underworld

The band’s name describes their sound very well: they are a heavy blues-rock act comprising of just two members, [read more]

Archives