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Queer couples kiss outside Irish parliament to demand better hate crime legislation

Patrick Kelleher November 7, 2019
Queer couples kiss outside Irish parliament to demand better hate crime legislation

Activists took part in a kissing protest in Dublin (Mick Barry Twitter)

LGBT+ people took part in a “kissing protest” yesterday in Dublin, outside Ireland’s parliament, to demand more robust hate crime legislation after a spate of homophobic attacks.

The kiss-in protest took place just weeks after Dublin man Marc Power was violently assaulted by a group after he arranged to meet a man on Grindr. The incident was met with public outrage over inadequate hate crime legislation that fails to protect minority groups such as LGBT+ people and people of colour.

Now, activists claim that there are parts of Dublin where they will not go for fear of being attacked over their sexual or gender identity.

Same-sex couples say there are parts of Dublin they would not hold hands.

“There are definitely places where we wouldn’t hold hands,” one Dublin man Philip Klubicka told the Irish Independent.

Meanwhile, another Dubliner Lynn Tracey told the publication that she is concerned for her trans daughter, noting that people who are “slightly different” are looked at “in a different way”.

The protest was called Shift the Hate Away and references the slang term “shift”, which is popularly used in Ireland to refer to kissing.

Legislation needs to come up to the standards where we need it. 

Eddie McGuinness, who is an organiser for Dublin Pride, said it can be difficult to walk down the street holding his husband’s hand as they still get stared at, TheJournal.ie reports.

“And also you still get the verbal abuse of people calling you names,” McGuinness added.

Robust hate crime legislation is urgently needed, activists say.

“Legislation needs to come up to the standards where we need it. It’s not just taking anyone’s voice away. It is actually giving more power to An Garda Síochána and also the judges to actually be able to deal with instances of both verbal and physical abuse.”

After the attack of Marc Power last month, the Department of Justice announced that they are planning to introduce new hate crime legislation.

The department said they are currently conducting research into international best practice and are planning a public consultation process.

The legislation that is currently in place – the Incitement to Hatred Act 1989 – is not fit for purpose, activists claim. The Irish Times reported in 2017 that the Act had led to just five convictions since its introduction.

More: Dublin, Hate crime, Ireland, shift the hate away

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