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Havering’s LGBT+ community ‘must report homophobic hate to police’

PUBLISHED: 15:00 11 February 2017

Cllr Alex Donald

Cllr Alex Donald

Archant

A councillor has called on the LGBT+ community to be “confident in who they are” and to report homophobic hate crimes to the police.

The call from Cllr Alex Donald comes after London Assembly member Tom Copley revealed that the number of reported homophobic hate crimes in Havering rose by 56 per cent last year – from 25 to 39.

Despite the increase it is believed that these incidents remain severely under-reported – with one in five people in the LGBT+ community having experienced hate crime in the past three years.

Cllr Donald, leader of Havering’s LGBT+ Forum, said the figures were disturbing but added that attitudes have gradually been improving.

“Attitudes overall are much more positive and accepting than even five years ago due to media and social attitudes.

“It is in everyone’s interest to challenge bigotry and hatred of LGBT+ people wherever we may encounter it.

“LGBT people must be confident in who they are. This means not accepting any violation of our civic and human rights when going about our daily lives.”

Cllr Donald understands how hard it can be for people to come forward and report these crimes.

He said: “Quite a few years ago, I was attacked in Cranham by a group of men violently threatening me with homophobic slurs. For convenience, I decided not to report it. I was wrong.”

However Cllr Donald believes the borough will continue to be welcoming place for the LGBT+ community if people continue to oppose

bigotry.

“Havering is a fantastic place for LGBT+ people but we must continue to challenge the remaining homophobic attitudes and incidents that still exist.”


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