Anti-gay hate crimes double in Birmingham amid school protests
Reports of homophobic hate crimes have more than doubled around Birmingham, as the city continues to face protests over LGBT+ education.
West Midlands Police revealed that reports of anti-gay incidents have surged since protesters began holding pickets against LGBT+ inclusive education at Parkfield Primary School and Anderton Park Primary School in March.
395 homophobic hate crimes were reported in the region between March and July—more than twice as many as in the five months prior to the protests.
Homophobic hate crimes have doubled in Birmingham
PC Gary Stack said: “There has definitely been a step change in people’s attitudes.
“We are currently seeing a huge spike in homophobic hate crime reports, which coincided with when the protests started outside the schools.
“A good number of those will be directly linked to the protests, others will be increased confidence in saying certain things, and the media interest and publicity also we see a rise.”
The city has faced months of protests outside school gates, with campaigners attacking LGBT “indoctrination” and calling for an end to teaching about same-sex relationships.
‘Very scary’ rise in homophobia
Speaking to the Birmingham Mail, Parkfield assistant headteacher Andrew Moffat said he is not surprised by the statistics.
He said: “I have never experienced homophobia like I have in the last six months.
“The protests have given a licence to people that think it is OK to shout abuse. This rise is very scary and very worrying – but I am not surprised.
“I have been openly gay for years and I have never faced open homophobia and insults as I do now. I have had children taunt me about being gay to my face – that has never happened in all my years teaching.
“The protests have given a licence to people to be insulting who may not have felt confident before. They have role models.”
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Government under fire over response to protests
A Government spokesperson said: “Hate crime is unacceptable in any circumstance or setting and schools should be safe places for children and staff.
“Our country has a proud history of tolerance and that is why we want children to learn the importance of respect for each other.”
However, the government has come under fire for its handling of the situation.
Education secretary Gavin Williamson and his predecessor Damian Hinds have both resisted personally intervening in the row, and neither has visited the city to meet with school leaders.
Parkfield academy boss Hazel Pulley has accused the Department of Education of pressing behind-the-scenes for an LGBT+ inclusive anti-bullying programme to be dropped.
Meanwhile, the National Association of Head Teachers and National Education Union have urged the government to make guidance clearer and underline its support for LGBT-inclusive education.