Emma Nicholson, Baroness Nicholson of Winterbourne, has come out against a rainbow crosswalk that was unveiled in west London earlier this month. The Baroness, an unelected conservative member of the U.K.’s House of Lords, falsely claimed that the colorful stripes will trigger epilepsy.
As PinkNews reports, the rainbow crosswalk featuring the colors of the Progress Pride flag was unveiled in early February in London’s Chiswick district to honor both the country’s LGBT+ History Month and Football vs Homophobia Month of Action.
On February 2, local councilor John Stroud-Turp, a member of the center-left Labour Party, posted a photo of the crosswalk thanking the Hounslow Council and the Gunnersbury Ward Councilors for helping make it happen. Two days later, Baroness Nicholson quote tweeted Stroud-Turp’s post.
“Dear Councillor,” she wrote, “I live in Westminster but regularly visit Chiswick. This crossing will inevitably cause migraines and trigger epilepsy – might we meet to discuss the protection of those recovering from head injuries or neurological conditions such as those I have mentioned?”
Nicholson has a history of voting against LGBTQ+ rights. In 2013, she voted for a bill designed to kill the government’s bill legalizing same-sex marriage. In 2020, she suggested that marriage equality had degraded “the status of women and of girls” in the U.K.
In 2000, as a member of the Liberal Democrats, she voted against the repeal of Section 28, a series of laws prohibiting the “promotion of homosexuality.” Earlier this year, she decried a drag queen story hour event at London’s Tate Gallery.
Unsurprisingly, her take on the supposed dangers of the rainbow crosswalk in Chiswick is incorrect. Headache specialist Dr. Katy Munro said that people who suffer from migraines are more likely to be triggered by the black and white stripes of a normal crosswalk.
Similarly, a spokesperson for Epilepsy Action said, “We are also not aware of any cases where pride flags/stripes have caused a problem for people with photosensitive epilepsy.”