Vandals who defaced a gay theatre sign have been offered free tickets to see the show whose sign they vandalised.
A banner promoting LGBT theatre season, GAYW3, at Jewish community centre JW3 was vandalised with the word “shame” written over it last week.
Tom Ross-Williams, star of RUN, one of the plays in the event, has made the bold move to invite the vandals to his show in a bid to try and educate them.
He told PinkNews: “When I saw the graffiti on the poster at JW3, I immediately thought that if these vandals saw the one man play RUN that I’m performing there, they would know that gay love is nothing to be ashamed of and that being homophobic is absurd… essentially what you’re doing is banning love.
“I’ve bought two tickets for the vandals who defaced the sign to see RUN on Wednesday night at JW3. The tickets will be at the box office waiting to be collected.”
He added: “I hope the vandals come and see that there are as many ways to be Jewish as there are ways to be a human, and being LGBT+ and Jewish are not at odds.”
The Jewish community centre in north London responded perfectly to the hateful graffiti when they found it.
Where the graffiti scrawled “shame” over a banner promoting the #GAYW3 event, they added “una” before and “d” at the end, rather than scrubbing off the graffiti, they made it read “unashamed”.
Ross-Williams, whose show RUN has received a five star review from Jewish News, said: “I do a lot of work in schools around gender inequality and LBGT+ issues.
“The most effective ways I have found to challenge homophobia and transphobia is by allowing young people to voice why they feel like that and then you can start to understand where they are coming from and have a dialogue.
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“Almost always it’s other kids in the class that challenge them. And that’s often when the most progress is made. So my offer to the vandals comes from a very similar place”
The hateful graffiti has been reported to police, and the comminity centre’s CEO wrote on Facebook that CCTV images of the culprit had been sent to police.
The CEO, Raymond Simonson, wrote on Facebook: “Wanna show your support through actions?
“Show the cowards who write hate messages or those currently threatening to boycott JW3 that whatever your beliefs, you will not tolerate hatred of another human being?
“Then please make this GAYW3 festival the most well attended set of events we’ve ever put on. Get tickets for events, bring friends, be an ally.”
Pointing to others who have condemned the event, Simonson urged as many people to visit it as possible to make it a success, in defiance of the hatred.
The GAYW3 event runs from 28 February to 12 March – more information is available at the JW3 website.