ONE of Scotland’s largest Pride events is battling fury from the LGBT community after it was revealed the bash was sponsored by one of the world's worst polluters.

Edinburgh Pride has been slammed for accepting sponsorship from ExxonMobil, which has promoted literature and research which plays down the threat of climate change.

Organisers insist that without the support the event would not be able to go ahead, but opponents say the move is emblematic of the growing “commercialisation” of Pride events.

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Dylan Hamilton, a trans climate activist, said he was “disappointed and upset” by the decision to accept ExxonMobil’s support.

The National: Revellers at Edinburgh Pride 2019 Revellers at Edinburgh Pride 2019

The 17-year-old said: “Obviously they need to fund the march but they could pick better sponsors.

“The main problem is they have picked something so obviously catastrophic for the climate.

“ExxonMobil doesn’t exactly have a great record on LGBT rights either.”

The firm was recently criticised for banning the rainbow Pride flag from flying outside its offices in Houston, Texas.

Hamilton added: “It’s the problem of commodifying the LGBT community into something companies can just sponsor to make themselves look good, rather than [Pride] being a protest for people’s rights.”

The growing furore around trans rights has seen a spike in reports of hate crimes against the community, giving the protest aspect of pride a new impetus, Hamilton said.

“I really don’t like the idea of [Pride] becoming this thing people can make money from and make their companies look good when really we should be talking about proper big issues,” he added.

The National:

“I know lots of people who don’t go to Pride because it’s become such a thing for companies.

“Its origins are as a protest because when it originated it was completely illegal to be gay.

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“A lot of people I know feel like that history has been taken away from it a bit.”

ExxonMobil is facing a trial in Massachusetts for allegedly breaking consumer protection laws in what the state’s attorney general has said is a decades-long process of covering up the impact of burning fossil fuels.

It is one of just a number of lawsuits facing the firm and others for their role in the climate crisis.

The National: ExxonMobil operate the Fife Ethylene Plant at Mossmorran, near CowdenbeathExxonMobil operate the Fife Ethylene Plant at Mossmorran, near Cowdenbeath

ExxonMobil is the largest oil company in the USA and internal documents show they have been aware of the threat of climate catastrophe since at least 1979.

Hamilton added: “They make their money based off the exploitation of the planet.”

In 2006, the Royal Society wrote to ExxonMobil expressing concerns about its promotion of research that “misrepresented” climate science.

Kayleigh O’Neill, a Greens councillor in Edinburgh said: “Pride is meant to be a protest, not a corporate PR event or a platform for polluters to pinkwash their dreadful environmental records.

“Even at this late hour, I would urge the organisers to think again about the message they are sending and the companies they are associating with."

Brett Herriott, the chair of Edinburgh Pride, said organisers had offered to meet with critics who took to social media to voice their concerns about the sponsorship deal.

He said: “We were approached by ExxonMobil’s LGBT Staff Network who were keen to discuss their involvement as an employee group with the Pride Edinburgh event.

“Like many LGBT groups of organisations the goal of employee groups is to continuously progress diversity in the company.

“As Pride, we are not in the position to deny fellow humans in our community a chance to celebrate diversity. Pride is for everyone.

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“Cancelling sponsorship agreements would mean cancelling this weekend’s event. The community has waited two years for this event and we will not do that to the many that, even with train strikes, have planned to attend.

“For many, this will be their first ever Pride event and for others this event comes after some of the hardest times in their lives.”

He added that a “large fossil fuel corporation” had offered cash but they were rejected “due to ethics”.

An ExxonMobil spokesperson said: “Our employees, as part of the UK Pride employee group, are proud to support Edinburgh Pride 2022.

“At ExxonMobil, diversity is embedded in our core values and the company culture to which we aspire.”