On Tuesday, a video appeared online showing some men shouting homophobic abuse at another man in East London, telling him to “get out of here” as “it is a Muslim area”. This may only be a small group of people but it raises queries about the safety of gay people in London.
Our reporter Amy Westgarth spoke to David, 61 (pictured above). He lives in Chelsea but was attacked after going on a date in Vauxhall. David told me that he and his date had been out for dinner and were walking back to his date’s house. He said that they were both happy and had a few kisses on their walk. A car drove past them and a man shouted out “bloody faggots” but the car then slowed down. David’s memories of the event are slightly blurred, due to the head injuries he sustained but some men got out of the car and beat him up. He hit his head on the pavement as he fell to the ground. David went to hospital but appeared to have nothing more than cuts and bruises. Months later, however, he was at the gym and couldn’t remember how many repetitions of weights he had done, which seemed odd. A day later, he was at work and suddenly couldn’t remember how to touch-type. He felt as though his hands and his brain were disconnected. He knew something was wrong and doesn’t remember how he made it to hospital but more tests revealed that he had a brain haemorrhage as a result of the attack. The doctors said he had “boxer’s brain”- a lot of blood caught between the brain and skull due to powerful impact injuries. David is lucky to be alive. David says that he still loves London, it’s one of the most liberal cities in the world but there will always be small pockets of ignorant people.
Amy spoke to a number of gay people who all seemed to agree that the bad attention they receive is mainly when they are physically affectionate in public. Is that the last taboo? Nobody seems to mind knowing that people are gay; they just don’t want to see it, themselves. Andy Wosley from Stonewall said that gay people still censor their behaviour towards each other in public places, like on the tube. If they feel like holding hands with their loved one, they might not, for fear of attracting negative attention. That means they are denying themselves the pleasure of truly expressing their feelings and that, in turn, means that they are not entirely free.
Listen to what people in London have to say about the issue here:
You can read more about gay hate crime and ‘Muslim Vigilante’ attacks here:
And meet the ‘other Muslim Patrol’: http://liberalconspiracy.org/2013/01/23/meet-the-other-muslim-patrol-roaming-the-streets/