Mayor of London Sadiq Khan: LGBT Londoners must be able to feel safe in our city
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has spoken to the city’s LGBT community after the homophobic massacre in Orlando.
50 people were killed and 53 injured yesterday in the shocking terrorist hate crime attack, which saw a gunman open fire inside The Pulse gay bar in Orlando, Florida.
ISIS has since claimed responsibility for the attack, which was perpetrated by US citizen Omar Mateen. The majority of the victims were Latino.
The Mayor of London is set to attend a vigil in London’s Soho district later today, where he will stand shoulder-to-shoulder with LGBT people.
Speaking to PA, he said: “I’m clearly conscious of how vulnerable LGBT Londoners feel at the moment.
“It’s really important that they are able to be who they are but it’s in the context of homophobic crimes going up last year.
“We stand shoulder to shoulder with them.
“Our LGBT community has also faced murderous attacks in the past – we remember the bombings at the Admiral Duncan pub in Soho – and it’s really important we are vigilant towards this evil hate crime.”
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“If you’re an LGBT Londoner you should feel at home in London. I want everyone not just to feel safe but be safe as well and also to be who they are.”
Labour politician Mr Khan, who became the Mayor of London last month, is one of the country’s most prominent pro-LGBT Muslim politicians.
He has been candid about receiving death threats from some hardline Islamist preachers after voting in favour of same-sex marriage in 2013, and is a strong voice for tolerance.
Speaking to PinkNews earlier this year, Mr Khan pledged to take a tough stance on homophobic hate crimes as Mayor.
He said: “I’ve been the victim of hate crime – anybody who is a minority is potentially the victim of hate crime.
“Whether you’re an ethnic minority, you’re lesbian gay, trans, religious minority, a woman, disabled, to me it’s personal because I have been on the receiving end.”
He added: “It’s a badge of shame – that in spite of the progress that we have made over the last 20, 30 years if you’re a Londoner who happens to be LGBT, you make yourself vulnerable to hate crime.
“It’s heartbreaking that as the father of two children, that almost half of LGBT young people have self harmed or tried to kill themselves, just think about that for a second.”