Teens face hate crime charges after screaming homophobic abuse at LGBT group
Four teenagers in Scotland are facing hate crime charges after allegedly screaming homophobic abuse outside an LGBTI group meeting.
The incident took place on August 4, when an LGBTI youth group meeting in Boghall Parish Church in Bathgate, West Lothian.
The meeting was being filmed for a documentary about the Scottish campaign group Time for Inclusive Education (TIE), with many participants discussing their experiences of homophobic abuse and growing up LGBTI.
However, four teenage boys aged between 13 and 15 attempted to disrupt the meeting, by barraging participants with a string of homophobic abuse.
Four minors have been detained over the incident and subsequently charged.
A statement from Police Scotland says: “A group of people attending an LGBT meeting at the Boghall Parish Church in Elizabeth Drive on Thursday 4th August were confronted by a number of teenagers and subjected to homophobic abuse.
“Following robust inquiries within the local area, three of the males aged 13,14 and 14 were detained on Sunday 7th August and subsequently charged. A fourth male aged 15 was traced and charged on the Monday 8th.
“They will all now be reported to the Children’s Reporter.”
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Sergeant John Fleming from Bathgate Police Station said: “Hate crime in any form will not be tolerated within West Lothian and whenever such incidents occur we will investigate them thoroughly to identify those responsible.
“If you have been a victim of a hate crime then please contact us on 101, make an anonymous report to the charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or visit the Police Scotland website to learn more about our third-party reporting mechanism.”
A TIE spokesperson told PinkNews: “While we are appalled at this incident, unfortunately we are not surprised – we hear reports from young people who face abuse like this on a regular basis.
“This further emphasises the fact that a new approach to dealing with homophobic, biphobic and transphobic attitudes amongst young people is required urgently.”
The group says the documentary “aims to highlight that more has to be done to advance LGBTI rights” and will be released later this year.
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