Yeah, I know, a slightly misleading post title… I’m not quite a one man crime wave but rather this year has been a difficult year for dealing with a number of homophobic hate crimes in various guises. (This post also poses the challenge of writing specifically enough about what happened without pointing the finger, encouraging more attacks or naming names)
Every time something happened I have reported it to the police, to their credit West Mercia Police have been swift in responding & taking detail & approaching individuals involved (where that has been possible). I’ve never not felt supported by them. Also the community in Horsehay & Lightmoor has been brilliantly supportive both online & offline. It’s that kindness both visible & on a very personal private level that encourages me to never hide my sexuality, never give in to bigots & keep my head held high.
I’ve worked alongside the Youth Group in Lightmoor to tackle broader issues of diversity & understanding. They have a great DVD resource that shows people that have experienced hate crime talking about the impact of bullying/attacks on their lives. Not every person from a stream of diversity may feel confident enough to stand up & share their story over & over again with strangers. (Reopening wounds as they heal might not be productive) This DVD allows a story to be shared, aired & discussed. I trust those stories shared with the youth group travel with them through life & become something they return to.
It’s the experiences I’ve had this year that drive me to work in my community alongside young and old (& the people in-between) to be a positive force & foster understanding. I can’t ever hope to speak for every gay person ever but I can speak for this gay person & I’ll keep speaking up as long as I have breath in my lungs & people that will listen to me. It’s why I coordinate Shrewsbury’s Annual Pink Picnic and I’m considering instituting a pink picnic in Telford. (Being against a fun, family friendly picnic makes you look like such a grinch)
Yes, I’ve been a victim of crime on a number of occasions this year but I turn that momentum into positive energy. I’m not saying that’s easy & that it hasn’t been upsetting because it’s not & it has been but each time these things have happened I pick myself up, dust myself down & keep going.