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Anna Calvi reveals vile anti-gay abuse she received after kissing her girlfriend in a straight bar

Lily Wakefield September 19, 2019
Anna Calvi

Anna Calvi said she and her girlfriend were called "dogs" when they kissed in a straight bar. (Ollie Millington/Redferns)

Lesbian singer-songwriter Anna Calvi has spoken about anti-gay abuse she received after kissing her girlfriend in a straight bar.

Calvi’s third album Hunter has been shortlisted for tonight’s Mercury Prize (September 19), and in an interview with The Independent she spoke about having to be “aware” of her safety as a queer woman.

She said: “A year ago, I was in a bar in Southbank with my girlfriend – I guess it was a straight bar – and we had a kiss, and a guy shouted at us that we were dogs.

“Even there… I don’t know if there’s anywhere that’s completely safe, for many people. As a lesbian woman walking through the world, even as a white, able-bodied person, you’re constantly adapting your behaviour in order to not become a target for someone’s hate.”

Anna Calvi
Anna Calvi performs during the All Points East Festival at Victoria Park, 2019. (Matthew Baker/Getty)

Calvi brought up the homophobic attack on a same-sex couple on a London bus in June this year after they refused to kiss, and said she had also experienced abuse on public transport in London.

She said: “I’ve never been punched, but I’ve had idiots on a bus bother me and my partner.

“It’s made me feel like I want to scream at them. When you’re being yourself with your partner, there’s always a tiny bit of your brain that’s aware of who’s around you.

“Are a group of men coming up towards you? It’s nice to give people the benefit of the doubt, but from experience, you think, ‘Is it worth it?’ And I hate that. That you still have to have those thoughts.”

There’s always this risk that someone’s gonna try and break this beautiful thing that you have.

She added: “When you’re in a gay relationship and you’re out in the world, you can feel that your love is protecting you both, and you can feel really happy.

“But there’s always this risk that someone’s gonna try and break this beautiful thing that you have and say something to you, or try and make you feel uncomfortable… I will protect this beautiful thing that I have with all my life, and my defiance of you is my happiness.

“Nobody is gonna make me feel that we don’t have a right to be in this space, and to express ourselves.”

The Mercury Prize will be live on BBC Four at 9pm on Thursday, September 19.

More: Anna Calvi, homophobic abuse, mercury prize, Music

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