Scally Mag looks at the recent homophobic attacks in the city and attitudes towards the LGBT+ Community…
As much as we like to believe that Liverpool is a socialist utopia and the friendliest city on earth, the unfortunate reality remains that it isn’t. There are many deep-rooted issues here, and the one that has reared its ugly head recently is hate-crime.
Over the past few weeks there have been a series of abhorrent homophobic attacks. There have been around four incidents in the city recently- all terrible in their own right- with one incident receiving particular attention due to the physical damage caused to the individual. Images circulated social media of Josh Ormrod which showed disturbing physical damage to his face. He was attacked leaving a nightclub in the city centre. He was attacked because he is part of the LGBT+ community.
For such incidents to happen at all in today’s society acts as a reminder as to how horrible this place can be at times. For it to happen during Pride month- a month of celebrating the LGBT+ community- makes it even more disgusting.
For a community to be unable to safely celebrate all the great things it continues to stand for is a travesty. This is a not a one off. There have been three known or reported attacks in the last two weeks according to the Liverpool Echo.
The deep-rooted negative and dangerous attuites towards the LGBT+ community are alive, and these recent horrific incidents are representative of that. What is worth understanding and remembering is the context to which being attracted to the same sex was viewed, and how legislation and structures played their part in shaping attitudes to this.
For centuries, punitive measures were apportioned to anybody who was not heterosexual. It was illegal to engage in sexual relations with the same sex for a very long time, and only in 1967 was the first legislation passed which saw this decriminalised in the UK. Further legislation passed to support the wider LGBT+ community a while later, including the Same Sex Couples Act…in 2013.
The decriminalisation didn’t happen overnight. Many activists and campaigners fought long and hard to be treated humanely. Many uprisings and protests pressured governments across the West to implement Gay Rights, most notably the Stonewall Uprising of 1969 in the United States.
Of course, the passing of legislation only makes life easier to an extent for certain communities. The recency of identifying as LGBT+ literally being deemed as an illegal act has many implications. It serves as a vessel for negative attitudes to be transported to the modern era. Many people alive today can remember the time when it was illegal.
The Prime Minister, Boris Johnson- the man responsible for the direction of this country- referred to gay men as “tanked-topped bum boys”. Another Tory MP, Desmond Swayne, once said being gay was “gross and unnatural”. He also voted to keep a ban on Section 28 – the promotion of homosexuality in schools – in 2003.
These are just a couple of contemporary examples of homophobia being spouted by people in positions of power. The sad reality is I could have chosen from many more. The prevalence of this over the years, along with tabloid gutter press attitudes, has given a sense of normality to such awful ideas of the LGBT+ community for some sections of society. These ideas often result in the awful incidents described earlier that we have recently seen in Liverpool. It is a stain on the city.
As ever, the good-will of the majority of decent people in the city has surfaced, and there are planned protests and demonstrations of solidarity and togetherness in the wake of the recent awful events. Liverpool’s LGBT+ community have planned a demonstration tomorrow at 1pm on Church Street.
It should give us hope that the speed of the reaction to these horrific incidents was lightening quick from those in the community and beyond. Solidarity and unity have been, and will always be, the cornerstone of combatting societies evils. There is no room for these awful bigots in our city, and they will continue to be run out of town. We love our LGBT+ community. Keep shining. You are the light in our dark days. You are the light always.
Cover photo credit: @dideyeshutter Instagram