Tag Archives: homophobia

Orlando: Another Mass Shooting – LGBT targeted

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In the early hours of June 12, 2016, a gunman, who I’m not interesting in naming, walked into the gay night club called Pulse in Orlando, Florida and started shooting at a group of lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgendered people – who were doing nothing but being who they were and enjoying themselves.

This was a direct attack on gay people, freedom, humans, love and a different way of life.  As a gay man in love with another man you are always aware that there are people who would hurt, damage or kill people like me – just because of who they love.  Attitudes to gay people have fundamentally changed in the UK since I was born in the late 1970s.  Hostility was very present in the 80s when gay bars started to spring up in cities, albeit usually in discrete and concealed places – until the 90s and 2000s when the gay movement stopped hiding and people like me felt comfortable being open about our sexuality at work and so rather than being some distant object of derision – we become up close and personal with our straight colleagues – who realised – we were just like them.

But we are still not in a world, or country where being gay is still acceptable across the board.  When a bakery can refuse service to customers who wanted a gay themed cake because it is ‘against their belief’ – backed up by Christian groups and media elements.  It demonstrates to gay people that although we have journeyed far – the route back to the dark ages of the 1950s when we were illegal, arrested and in-prisoned – isn’t as far away as we might like to believe.

On my Monday Matters radio show I spoke to gay radio presenter DJ Justice, who presents his show in Orlando and often visited  Pulse and lost people that he knew in the atrocity.

 

 

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Police give hate crime the boot

Merseyside Police Commissioner at Mersey Pride event.
Merseyside Police at Pride event.

Officers from throughout the force are replacing the standard black laces for multi-coloured ones to mark the start of Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender History month.

The unique rainbow laces use the same colour scheme as the rainbow flag, which has been flown by the force for the past nine years to mark International Day Against Homophobia (IDAHO) in May and will be raised again on February 1st.

Officers of all ranks will be allowed to wear the distinctive laces throughout February as a show of support for our LGBT staff and also for our partner agencies who stand alongside Merseyside Police to end discrimination and to eradicate hate crime.

Deputy Chief Constable Andy Cooke, said: “As a force we have already pledged to do everything we can to support members of the LGBT community and tackle homophobic and Transphobic hate crime in Merseyside. The flying of rainbow flag of IDAHO is already a well-established tradition in Merseyside and the introduction of rainbow laces as a show of support for LGBT History month is another great initiative.

Screen Shot 2016-02-07 at 21.55.57“We pride ourselves on being a diverse, fair and equal opportunities employer and the networks we have forged with support networks such as Homotopia and our GLSN have helped us improve the service we give to members of the LGBT community.

“Sadly, some people continue to be targeted because they are perceived to be different and it is important that victims feel confident enough in the police to report any hate crime incidents to us.

“We have made significant in-roads into addressing this issue through the establishment of our hate crime investigation ‘Sigma’ units, however there is further work to do to increase hate crime reporting and initiatives like this can only help demonstrate our commitment to this cause.”

Detective Constable Tracy O’Hara, chair of Merseyside Police’s LGBT network, said : “It is important for myself and other LGBT colleagues in Merseyside Police to see visible support from senior managers and those who do not identify as LGBT, wearing the rainbow laces.

merseysidepolice_34042783394.jpg“This is a team game and hopefully this will get people talking.

“LGBT history month is an opportunity to be visible in our stance against homophobia and transphobia. We have an established LGBT network however there are still those who feel unable to be out.

“Rainbow laces enable all staff to show their commitment to eradicating hate and discrimination in all its facets and that is what this is all about.”

During LGBT history month, members of Merseyside Police’s gay lesbian support network (GLSN) and Merseyside Black Police Association will be joining Homotopia and Liverpool’s Unity Theatre in welcoming a contingent of campaigners and academics from Poland.

The group will be looking at how LGBT cultural events such as Pride are organised in the city, how anti-discrimination is discussed in schools and universities, and how the emergency services and local councils work with charities to promote LGBT awareness.

Andrew Mwenda – making a stand against anti-gay law…

In February 2014  Uganda’s president President Yoweri Museveni signed off a bill toughening anti-gay laws allowing those convicted of homosexuality to be imprisoned for life.    The anti-homosexuality bill passed through parliament in December after its architects agreed to drop a death penalty clause. The legislation requires those found guilty of repeat homosexuality to be jailed for life.

Andrew Mwenda spoke to NTVUganda’s Newsnight programme and maybe it’s my own ignorance but I really didn’t expect him to say what he did.  I was just used to the anti-gay sentiments that have been reported from Uganda. Andrew’s interview was galvanising and reminded me that I too – should not judge all Ugandan’s as I had done previously – not everyone is the same!