Laura Russell, Director of Campaigns, Policy and Research at Stonewall, said:
“This attack is an upsetting reminder of how much we still have to do for LGBT equality. But it’s also a reminder of the precarious position women still have in society. This wasn’t just a homophobic attack – it had misogyny thrown in for good measure. It’s tempting to think that in 2019, lesbians and bi women are safe from attacks like these, and indeed we all should be. But sadly, this isn’t the reality. On the first week of Pride month this year, a month for celebrating LGBT people and how far we’ve come, we’ve already heard harmful comments from politicians and see continued debates around LGBT inclusive education and trans rights. We also know that this attack won’t be the only hate crime against the LGBT community this month.
“Government research found that more than two thirds of LGBT people said they had avoided holding hands with a same-sex partner for fear of a negative reaction from others. This attack is a reminder of why this is the case.
‘Underreporting hate crimes is a also huge issue, which is why Stonewall is working with police services across Britain and the Crown Prosecution Service to better support LGBT people reporting abuse. We also need consistent sentencing so that LGBT people know that we’ll be fully supported by the justice system. The Law Commission announced a review of sentencing last year and this is an important first step to ensure crimes based on someone’s sexual orientation, gender identity or disability are treated equally to those based on race and faith.
“But there is more all of us can to do to make sure attacks like this no longer happen. We need people who believe in equality to take action and to come out for LGBT people. If you want a society where everyone feels safe, do something about it today and support LGBT charities, communities and your LGBT friends and family.”