UK Black Pride rejects hate crimes against all LGBTs

 

UK Black Pride rejects hate crimes against all LGBTs

Press Release

For Immediate Release
London 13 June 2016

UK Black Pride, Britain’s largest community-led organisation for African, Arab, Asian and Caribbean-heritage Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans people, expresses full solidarity with the LGBT community in the USA which has suffered devastating losses after a gunman opened fire on people inside an LGBT nightspot in Orlando, USA, on Sunday 12 June.

As we process the shock of this fateful assault on the LGBT community UK Black Pride’s thoughts are firmly with the victims and families affected by this hate crime. UK Black Pride calls for the global outpouring of condemnation to be used to secure greater recognition of, and action on, the impact that violence continues to have on LGBT people around the world every day of the year. UK Black Pride further calls on the UK government to make more intensive efforts to combat prejudice and violence against LGBT people in Britain and abroad.

UK Black Pride also emphasises the need for active solidarity between communities in the days and weeks ahead. UK Black Pride calls on our community and allies to join tonight’s solidarity vigil from 7pm in Soho, London, as well as other planned events. UK Black Pride reiterates its intent to press ahead with the UK Black Pride event on 26 June in London’s Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens to remember those who have lost their lives to hate crime in all corners of the world.

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Phyll Opoku-Gyimah, Executive Director of UK Black Pride, said:

The murders at Pulse nightclub are another tragedy in a long line of anti–LGBT hate crime that occurs in public spaces – in schools, streets, parks and workplaces, often in broad daylight – every day of the year. Whenever LGBT people congregate in our own social spaces – often to flee persecution in wider society – these spaces become targets of vicious homophobic and transphobic violence. That is simply unacceptable.

We welcome that the response of politicians and media today is a far cry from 1973 when the UpStairs Lounge, a gay bar in New Orleans, USA, was burned down and killed 32 people. Back then, politicians and religious leaders refused to condemn the arson or offer support to victims. Most news outlets ignored the story or mocked the victims for being gay. It is shocking that the USA did not explicitly criminalise anti-LGBT hate crime, on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, until as recently as 2009, when President Obama supported the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act.

What this shows is that fighting hate-crime requires strong legislation that is widely explained to the public, but it also needs robust hate-crime reporting mechanisms, and victim support services that are properly funded. Without this triumvirate we cannot expect to see the change that is so desperately needed to protect LGBT people in Britain and abroad.

Pav Akhtar, a Director of UK Black Pride, said:

As we try to recover from this atrocity and piece together what it means for LGBT peoples’ place in society as equal citizens, we must be clear that this crime was about a hatred of LGBT people which must be tackled in all sections of society. There will be no shortage of voices in the media analysing the links between Islam, terrorism and homophobia. Political candidates will likely use the incident to gain support in elections but we cannot allow Orlando to be turned into a story of ‘us’ against ‘them‘, because homophobia and racism is more complicated than that.

As a British Muslim LGBT person of Pakistani heritage I have seen the effect of homophobic hate crime suffered by Muslim people in places like Bangladesh, Nigeria and the UK. Homophobic hate crime is not limited to one faith community, nationality or race. The only way to effectively combat hate is to do as we have done previously: to work together across communities to act to end the hatred and violence. UK Black Pride will continue our work to tackling violence and abuse against Black and LGBT people.

UK Black Pride maintains a strong identity as a grassroots-led movement. We believe the most effective way to secure the fight for LGBT equality and inclusion is by opposing all forms of bigotry and putting people before profit. The Transforming Our Community theme signals our determination to stand for LGBT love and equality against all purveyors of hate. Join us!

Notes for editors:

There are many ways to get involved in making UK Black Pride 2016 a success:

  1. For UK Black Pride media and sponsorship enquiries email: pav@ukblackpride.org.uk
  2. For food or information stall bookings in the community area email: info@ukblackpride.org.uk
  3. For information about UK Black Pride visit:
  1. For details about Pride in the Park visit: Pride in London

 

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