UK

Hundreds protest against terrifying spate of homophobic and transphobic attacks in Liverpool

Emma Powys Maurice June 23, 2021
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Liverpool

Hundreds showed up to protests in Liverpool. (Twitter/@MayorLpool)

Hundreds marched through Liverpool city centre in protest over a spate of homophobic and transphobic attacks throughout Pride month.

In recent weeks at least seven victims of suspected hate crimes have been reported in local media, with several sharing their stories and photos of their bloodied faces online.

On Tuesday (22 June) LGBT+ people and allies gathered in a show of defiance against the horrific assaults, chanting “Whose lives matter? Queer lives matter,” and “Be angry, be here, be queer. We will not live in fear.”

“All these homophobic attacks that are happening in Liverpool are f**king disgusting, and they can’t go on any longer,” cried drag queen Angel Dewynter, who kicked off the speeches.

“I have literally been messaged about getting macheted and run over, and we’re still here today to fight for gay rights.”

Liverpool’s newly-elected mayor, Joanne Anderson, also condemned the attacks as she marched with the crowd. “This we will not tolerate in our city,” she declared.

She urged people to report anti-LGBT+ crimes, highlighting the “massive percentage of underreporting in your community”.

“We have to make sure people are prosecuted. We have to make sure we have resources, that we can take action to eradicate this from our society,” she said.

“I just want to thank everyone for coming out today. You absolutely, wholeheartedly have our support. Let’s say no to hate crime in our city.”

Among the first victims were a young woman, her girlfriend and her sister who were attacked and threatened with rape and murder last month.

This was followed by an attack on a gay couple, who were assaulted by knife-wielding thugs shouting homophobic slurs.

Then two 19-year-old friends, bisexual students Curtis Stewart and Josh Ormrod, were brutally beaten only days apart in the city centre.

27-year-old Greg Hewitt, whose leg was fractured in an attack, told the BBC that it had left him questioning if it was safe to go out in the city “and be who we are”.

This was echoed by Liverpool City Region Pride Foundation’s Andi Herring, who said there was “a lot of fear, anger and confusion” in the community.

The rise in attacks was acknowledged Merseyside’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Emily Spurrell. In a joint statement, she and Liverpool Regional mayor Steve Rotheram condemned the surge of bigotry, saying diversity was one of the region’s “great strengths”.

“The recent spate of homophobic attacks in Liverpool city centre fly in the face of those values and have understandably sent shockwaves throughout the region,” they said.

“That these attacks should occur during Pride Month, a time meant to celebrate our LGBT+ community, is especially upsetting and only serves to underline why Pride events are still needed.

“Everybody is welcome here,” they concluded. “Violence, bigotry, and hatred are not.”

Related topics: Liverpool, protest

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