A 13-year-old boy has been arrested over homophobic attacks at a youth club
A 13-year-old boy was arrested after a homophobic attack against members of a Welsh LGBT+ youth club that left one teenager hospitalised.
A club member was assaulted at a local bus stop in Gwynedd after leaving Caffi Gisda in July, while other incidents of verbal abuse reportedly took place, according to NorthWalesLive.
Following the physical attack the club was temporarily suspended.
Organisers at a meeting on Wednesday confirmed that one club member was hospitalised as a result of the homophobic attack.
The meeting was held to discuss other cases where members have been verbally abused. Police confirmed an arrest had been made.
Officers said the boy was “still in the system”, the BBC reported.
The club’s co-founder, Aled Griffiths, described the incidents as “serious”. He rallied for members and allies to “stand up for equality”.
He added: “What we wanted to do was to create an inclusive environment for young people from the LGBT community.
“Somewhere they could come and have the freedom to chat, make new friends and express themselves which ever way they wanted.”
“I had a difficult journey growing up. There were no similar social groups which I could be a part of and at times I felt really isolated, right up until I left for university.
“By doing this I’ve had a chance to look back on my own experiences growing up and hopefully it’ll help others going through a similar situation.”
Gisda, a charity for homeless youth, hosts an LGBT+ youth club in its café in Caernarfon, a rural north Wales town.
The club’s members often gather to play boardgames and drink coffee, while group leaders offer support and one-on-one sessions for members, and run sex and relationships classes.
But the group is one of the only of its kind in the county – the Viva LGTB group in Rhyl being the other.
Around 150 people have attended the group since November 2017 who come “as far as South Meirionnydd, Anglesey and Conwy [to] attend”, according to the club’s page.
The incidents come as the rate of LGBT+ hate crime has rocketed in the last four years in England and Wales, shocking data showed earlier this year.
There were 4,600 LGBT+ hate crimes reported in 2014, but in 2018 that number soared to 11,600.