There a worrying increase in the rate of anti-gay hate crimes in England and Wales

Image via Facebook

DANIEL Browne, Chair of Warwickshire Pride, centre, has revealed that the event is attracting hateful responses, including a post to its Facebook page saying ‘Gays should be killed’. Organisers also report that banners advertising the Pride parade have been stolen on two occasions in the past week.

Browne told PinkNews that they “definitely feel directly targeted.”

The threatening comment has been reported to police (Facebook/Warwickshire Pride)

The parade is due to be held in Leamington Spa on Sunday. Police have yet to respond to the threatening comment, which was left on the event’s Facebook page.

Said Browne:

All events happening here put up banners to let people know their events are happening, and we are the only one to have had banners taken.

He added the organsiers tend to see a spike in such incidents around Pride.

Last year Warwickshire Pride fundraisers were allegedly subjected to over 100 hate incidents in just three hours, with flags and posters being stolen and staff receiving verbal abuse from the public.

A stall in a local shopping centre was reportedly vandalised, and banners, flags and posters were ripped down.

Browne said comments such as “that’s disgusting”, “I don’t wanna see that”, and “for f*ck’s sake, look at that” were made by people approaching the stall. Police treated this as a hate crime.

Browne continued:

I am gay and incidents like this in my home town sadly don’t surprise me. I work all year round with people who are subjected to physical attacks and verbal abuse just because they happen to be LGBT+.There is support and that support is growing. However, hate is growing too and Warwickshire is actually a difficult place to be LGBT+. Physical attacks and verbal abuse are common. We’re in 2019 and things appear to be starting to move backwards.

Browne was unable to say whether he suspects one or more people behind the vandalism, but noted that the ‘homophobic’ Facebook comments were left by multiple people, with one individual being warned to stop by police.

The abuse faced by Warwickshire Pride reflects a worrying increase in the rate of hate crimes in England and Wales.

Homophobic and transphobic hate crimes have more than doubled in the past four years, with offences like harassment, assault and stalking, increasing by 144 percent between 2014 and 2018.

Almost half of the hate crimes committed on trans people were violent, with 46 percent being offences like assault and grievous bodily harm. For homophobic hate crimes, 40 percent were violent in 2018.

Taz Edwards-White, of equality and diversity organisation Metro, told the Guardian:

I believe [the tension] is a direct result of people feeling unsafe due to rise of the right-wing political movement.