Anti Hate Crime Vigil

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Galop attended a rally and vigil in Trafalgar Square on 30 November in memory of Ian Baynham and other victims of homophobic and transphobic hate crime.

Thousands of LGBT people turned out for a moving and powerful gathering. Rows of candles spelt out “No To Hate” and speeches took place before a two-minutes silence at 2100.  The event was presented by Sandi Toksvig, Sue Perkins read out the names of many of those who have died as a result of homophobia and transphobia in recent years, and messages of support were read out from all the main UK political parties as well as from Harvey Milk’s nephew.

Galop’s Chief Executive, Deborah Gold, spoke at the event – you can read the full transcript of her speech below.

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My name is Deborah Gold, and I work for Galop. I’m here to pay my respects to Ian Baynham and to tell you about Galop.

In 1982, Galop began working across London, to demand better protection from the police against queerbashing.

We believed then that as lesbians, gay men, bisexual and trans people, we deserved to be free to be who we are, where ever we are. We believed that we should be able to wear what we want, without fear of violence. We believed that we should be able to go where we want, without fear of violence. We believed that we should be able to hold hands with who we want, without fear of violence. And we believed that when this didn’t happen, we deserved to be protected by the police.

At Galop, 27 years after we started, we still believe those things, and yet they don’t always happen, and we still believe that lesbians, gay men, bisexual and trans people deserve better.

And because of that Galop continues to challenge the way the police work with our communities, and to support our communities when we’ve been the victim of homophobic or transphobic hate crime. When we talk about hate crime, we mean the horrific murders and serious injuries, like those we are here to remember tonight, and we also mean those of us who are harassed by our neighbours, those of us who are shouted at in the street, these experiences which for some are so regular that they become a part of our lives.

If you’ve experienced homophobic or transphobic hate crime, and you are worried about going to the police, you can TELL US ABOUT IT. We can take a full report, and make sure that it reaches the right people. If you want to remain anonymous, we’ll protect your identity. If you want the police to call you back, and to help you, we’ll make sure that they do that. We’ll be there, on your side, to make sure that our communities get the protection they deserve, and you get the support, and advice you need.

Tonight is an amazing gathering of people who want to remember those who have gone before us, and who want to do something to end hate crime. We want to make sure that Ian, Andrea, James and all those others who have been attacked, are the last. We need to work together to make that a reality. Knowledge is power, and if we have the knowledge of what is going on out there, then we have the power to end it. You can help by calling us every time you experience or witness a homophobic and transphobic incident, because Galop can use that knowledge to make sure that we all get what we deserve – freedom to be ourselves.