PROTESTERS in Leamington gathered to raise awareness about the alarming rise in violent hate crimes.
Warwickshire Pride organised the protest outside the town hall following The Observer’s recent article which highlighted attacks on members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community.
Warwickshire Pride founder Daniel Browne said: “The article detailed horrific assaults on two gay men, one in Leamington and one in Kenilworth.
“There is clearly a steep rise in violence being committed against LGBT people. We’re seeing this trend nationally but really feeling it locally. I’m aware of many people who have been violently attacked and verbally abused just for being who they are. We’re seeing some venues declining transgender people their right to use the toilet that matches their identity, and a general rise in hateful comments.
“Pride has always been a protest and unfortunately must remain so until all people can live freely and openly as who they are without having to be subjected to acts of hate.”
Warwickshire Police say it is committed to tackling hate crime after figures showed the number of reported crimes against members of the LGBT community in the county had rocked in recent years. In 2013 there were 24 reported crimes, but last year the figure soared to 94 – reflecting a rise nationally.
Warwickshire Pride festival will take place on Saturday August 17 at the Pump Room Gardens in Leamington.
Visit www.warwickshirepride.co.uk for more information.