- One in five LGBT people have experienced a hate crime or incident because of their sexual orientation and/or gender identity in the last 12 months
- Two in five trans people have experienced a hate crime or incident because of their gender identity in the last 12 months
- Four in five anti-LGBT hate crimes and incidents go unreported, with younger LGBT people particularly reluctant to go to the police
These statistics are taken from the Stonewall report Hate Crime and Incidents, published in 2017. A depressing read, isn’t it? What is even more depressing is that the situation has reportedly deteriorated, there are now more homophobic hate crimes being reported than there were 5 years ago.
I heard an Anglican Bishop say recently that the problem for us today is “Populism”, which, put rather clumsily perhaps, is politics that supposedly speaks for the will of the people above the interests of the elite. This depresses me further as I find it heart-breaking that ordinary people could want such a thing. After all, are most LGBTQ+ people not ordinary, just like me? I don’t buy it…. The Stonewall study suggests that the majority of the incidents reported (87%) involve LGBTQ+ people being insulted, pestered, intimidated or harassed. Maybe the view could be that this isn’t such a big deal but from personal experience it is!
Whilst I was staying at Hope University in Liverpool recently, a young man at a bus stop made noises as I walked past him which I knew were homophobic, I kept looking forward and walked on but it was humiliating, it affected my sleep that night and I am still thinking about it now…. My experience dented my confidence a little but for someone else it could have had a far more serious impact.
I can’t help but wonder then what the difference is between the young man hissing at me at the bus stop and the Archbishop’s decision not to invite same sex spouses to the 2020 Lambeth Conference. There’s all sorts of loving rhetoric around why it should be so but ultimately it gives the same message – ‘you are not a proper person’, well at least that’s the message I take from it.
What I take heart from though are the words of Jesus in John 13:34 – “I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another.” Nowhere in this scripture does it say unless you are LGBTQ+, black, a woman, have a disability or any other ‘difference’. No! Jesus meant everyone and there is certainly no love in exclusion of any kind!
To commemorate in a small way the courage and determination of Peterloo we have invited church people of St Chrysostom’s to contribute a blog post on a subject about which they have concern and passion. We are calling this small blog series #soapbox.