Thursday, 29 October 2009

Vigil Against Hate Crime - 30 October

On Friday 25th September 2009, Ian Baynham, 62, and his friend were subjected to homophobic abuse in Trafalgar Square, London. When Ian challenged this unacceptable behaviour he was assaulted by three youths: two women and a man. He later died of his injuries on 13th October.

On Sunday 25 Ocotber, James Parkes, 22, an off-duty trainee police officer, was set upon by a group of up to 20 teenagers in the heart of the gay quarter of Liverpool. James was with his partner, another man and a woman when he was attacked. One of his companions was punched in the face. James is now fighting for his life with multiple skull fractures and other injuries.

Ian and James are sadly not alone; They are two among thousands of people who have been victims of hate crime. In London alone, 1,192 homophobic offences were reported in the year to September 09, up from 1,008 the previous year - a rise of 18.3%. That's an average of almost 3 per day!

People from all communities are invited to come together on Friday 30th October to stand up and say that Hate Crime is unacceptable and that we will no longer tolerate it.

The yigil, which has received high-profile support and will be hosted by Sandi Toksvig, will include speakers from a wide cross section of the community, and musical contributions from a mass choir bringing together members of the LGBT choir of London, Brighton and Hove, Birmingham and Manchester as well as the London Gay Symphonic Winds.

Those unable to attend the event in person, wherever they are in the world, are invited to light candles of hope and observe the two minutes silence, preferably at 9pm GMT.

The vigil, in Trafalgar Square, will start at 8pm and will last 2 hours.

A website (www.17-24-30.com) and Facebook event have been created for the occasion as well as a Twitter account.

Donations can be made here on PayPal or via a dedicated bank account (Sort Code 40-03-22 Account 41446843).

Volunteers to help organise are also welcome.

A vigil in reaction to the attack on James Parkes will take place on Sunday 1st November at 8 pm on Stanley Street in Liverpool.

4 comments:

  1. Slight freak-out here.

    According to official FBI statistics, in 2005 there were 1433 hate crimes against LGBs in the entire US, pop. 305 million. 1192 homophobic offences in London, pop. 7.6 million, equates to 33 times as many per capita.

    WTF?

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  2. That probaly only means that we are better at reporting than they are, to be honest.

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  3. Possibly. To know for sure we'd need a break down of the hate crimes that have been reported which can then be compared to FBI hate crime data (which I have a copy of for 2005).

    Not all US states have hate-crimes laws or employment & housing protections, so reporting a hate crime may be impractical or unwise. In such a situation a non-violent hate crime would be more likely to be ignored; this may not be possible with a violent hate crime. So theoretically if Euroqueers are better at reporting hate crimes the major difference would be seen in non-violent rather than violent crimes, with the UK leaning towards non-violent and the US leaning towards violent, especially in more backward states like OK, WV and SC.

    As it is, the data we currently have suggests that LGB Londoners face approximately seven to ten thousand* times more hate crimes per capita than American Protestants.

    (* the difference depends on whether you use US or UK estimates for the LGB population - 4% and 6% respectively.)

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  4. There is also the fact (at least in the UK) that the classification as a homophobic hate crime come from the officer dealing with it, who is not necessarily trained or willing to do so...

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