Socialist Youth text of leaflet handed out at Gay Pride march Belfast 7th August 2004

STOP THE HOMOPHOBIC ATTACKS - UNITY IS STRENGTH

" Every time I go out onto the street I get called names, I have been spat on and beaten up – it is just constant. It can happen anytime at all – in the middle of a street in broad daylight. It is mostly verbal abuse but it can become deadly dangerous. Gay people have been maimed and disfigured. On one occasion I was kicked up and down the Dublin Rd."

This is a story thousands of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in Northern Ireland can tell about their personal experiences of bigotry in 2004. Homophobic attacks are on the rise across the province but one startling statistic tells it all: in Derry there have been 17 attacks for the 7 months this year, already surpassing the total for last year.

Yet this is not just a question of homophobia against adults, the latest survey showed that 54% of LGBT school students had suffered verbal abuse and 35% physical abuse. Being LGBT is ‘tolerated’ but only just! Scratch beneath the surface and homophobia and discrimination against LGBT people is rife.

The existence of neo-nazi groups like the White Nationalist Party who are responsible for carrying out vicious attacks on ethnic minorities also pose a threat to the LGBT community. Their vile propaganda openly supports gay-bashing. These extremist groups are also facilitated by the more ‘mainstream’ bigots. Politicians like DUP Cllr Arthur Templeton should be singled out whenever they make homophobic remarks, by mobilising and organising protests against them.

Fight the roots of homophobia!

The question however remains why is there discrimination against the LGBT community and what can be done to stop the discrimination, violence and intimidation?

Socialist Youth believes discrimination occurs to divide working people and to make sure we don’t see the real cause of the problem: an exploitative and profit driven society. The scapegoating of minorities, whether they are based on ethnicity, colour, religion or sexual orientation is an easy excuse for the real deprivations of poverty and unemployment to go unaddressed. In contrast, a genuine democratic socialist society would be run on the basis of unity and co-operation. A democratic socialist society would guarantee rights for all minorities.

Organise to stop attacks!

The only way discrimination and violence can be tackled is through a determined united campaign of the LGBT community, Trade Unions, students unions and community groups. Through educational campaigning work, discrimination could be tackled in the workplaces, in the schools and colleges, and in the community to stop the scapegoating and homophobic hysteria that the bigots thrive off. No member of the LGBT community should feel scared to go out or be driven to mental illness (figures show gay men are far more likely to suffer depression than any other section of society) by the actions of the bigoted minority.

Socialist Youth – who we are

Socialist Youth is an organisation run by young people for young people. We are the youth wing of the Socialist Party. The Socialist Party is to the fore in fighting for working class people.

We are part of International Socialist Resistance, a global socialist youth movement which organises in countries on all the continents. In Northern Ireland, Socialist Youth has branches established in Belfast, Bangor, Coleraine, Derry, Omagh, Newry and has members campaigning in many more areas. Join the struggle against capitalism and for a socialist future. Join with us today, get involved in building Socialist Youth.

Visit the Socialist Party LGBT website

Other SP material can be found here