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Liverpool continues to stand in solidarity against the spate of the recent violent homophobic attacks in the city, which resulted in a mass protest this week.
A throng of people rallied together to showcase support and solidarity for the victims of the recent attacks and to convey the message that hate crime is not accepted in the city.
Protestors marched through the city centre in a show of defiance, driven by chants: “Whose lives matter? Queer lives matter,” and “Be angry, be here, be queer. We will not live in fear.”
Merseyside Police said arrests had been made over hate crimes involving “homophobic slurs” on Fleet Street, Bold Street and Upper Newington Street.
Drag Queen Naya Thorn, one of the protest organisers, was overwhelmed by the amount of support from the community. She said: “The reason me and Angel organised this protest is to show that these attacks will not be tolerated.
“We agreed that sharing the posts on social media is not as powerful a message as going out there to be seen and heard.”
“I didn’t expect such a big turnout. When we came up with the idea to protest, we expected around 20 to 50 people at most to turn up.
“Seeing all those people turn up in support was overwhelming and emotional.”
She also touched on the fact that she believes protests do have an impact and called out those in power. She added: “I always think protests have an impact.
“We saw it last year with the BLM movement and back in the 60s with the stonewall riots. Hopefully, moving forward, ours will do the same.
“We want to engage with the authorities and demand more is done to protect people, especially the vulnerable and minorities.
“Why is not everybody safe and why is this not one of your top causes?”
Liverpool’s newly-elected mayor, Joanne Anderson, also made an appearance at the protest. The politician addressed the crowd, to echo their concerns that homophobia and transphobia will not be tolerated.
She said: “Absolutely horrific crimes like these have no place in our city.
“There is a massive percentage of unreported attacks in your community.
“We have to make sure people are prosecuted. We have to make sure we have resources, that we can take action to eradicate this from our society.
“Let’s say no to hate crime in our city.”
The suspected homophobic and transphobic hate crimes have fuelled fear and anger within the region’s LGBTQ+ community.
Over recent months, Liverpool has been subject to a handful of hateful anti-LGBTQ+ crimes in the last few months.
On May 16th, three young people were attacked and abused with transphobic slurs.
Later that month, a woman, her girlfriend, and her sister were attacked and threatened with rape and murder in Liverpool’s ‘gay quarter’.
On June 11th, a gay couple were victims of knife crime whilst having homophobic slurs shouted at them and recently, two 19-year-olds from Liverpool Hope University, Curtis Stewart and Josh Ormrod, were beaten up.
Naya spoke out about how she felt being part of the LGBTQ+ community when being outside. She said: “I think before the protest, I did feel very scared to be gay.
“I was scared to be attacked on the streets for being myself. I just didn’t feel safe.
“After the protest, I have a massive sense of pride and community.
“I don’t feel as scared anymore after seeing all the people come to support each other.
“It really helped build a lot of confidence and hopefully, other people can feel that confidence too.”
The horrific rise in homophobic and transphobic attacks in the city have been addressed by Merseyside’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Emily Spurrell and Liverpool Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram in a joint statement.
They said: “The recent spate of homophobic attacks in Liverpool city centre fly in the face of those values and have understandably sent shockwaves throughout the region.
“That these attacks should occur during Pride Month, a time meant to celebrate our LGBTQ+ community, is especially upsetting and only serves to underline why Pride events are still needed.
The statement concluded with a message of solidarity highlighting that “everybody is welcome” while “violence, bigotry, and hatred are not.”
Naya further spoke about what LGBTQ+ allies can do to support their queer friends. She said: “Allies can make sure that queer friends are getting home safe! Especially after what’s gone on.
“Don’t tell someone to chill out or tone it down when they are just being themselves. No one should have to tone anything down for anyone.
“Most importantly, call it out when you see it. If you see someone making jokes about queer people that could come off as homophobic, call it out.
“Call out homophobia and call out discrimination.”