Birmingham is a lively city with more than one million citizens coming from all over the globe. The city is rich in her diversity of cultures, religions and different people. Unfortunately, this can also be a downside.
Hate crime is a big issue in Birmingham. Despite the fact that the LGBT community seems to be welcomed by everyone, they still suffer a lot from hate crime. They have to deal with discrimination and violence. Even though dealing with hate crime is a big part of the day for a lot of people, not many of them step to the police. Because people don’t know what a hate crime is exactly and what the police can do to help them.
Although hate crime is a big problem it might seem as if the LGBT community chose the perfect city to represent themselves. Birmingham has one of the biggest prides in the country and they even got a whole area dedicated to the community; Gay Village.
Maybe it sounds crazy, because the city seems so progressive, but why is such a place is necessary? Everyone should go wherever they want and feel free to express themselves in whatever form or way they feel is right. Unfortunately that is not possible. Dr. Mike Beazley explains why the Gay Village exists and what the danger of such a place can be.
People won’t talk much about a hate crime, or hate crime in general, because they are afraid of the consequences. Tessa Havers-Strong is the executive & governance officer at Camden LGBT forum + and she knows why: ‘It is not much about being afraid, it is more that they don’t trust the police because they haven’t been supportive in the past.’ That’s why this topic remains unspoken, but not talking about this subject can cause another problem; mental health issues. Havers-Strong explains: ‘people not reporting a hate crime can have effect on their wellbeing. They can become socially isolated or they can get frightened to go out.’ Many people who experienced a hate crime suffer from mental illness, for example depression. Luckily there are a lot of organisations who can help you fight mental health problems.
Khakan Qureshi is the founder of Finding A Voice, an organisation who focusses on the Azian LGBT community and gives them a voice. Faheem Uddin is lead governor of the Positive Mental Health Group. He speaks on a daily basis with people who suffer from illnesses like depression. They make clear why talking about hate crime is necessary.
Talking about hate crime is very important. How more people report a hate crime the more the police can do to undertake actions. It is not easy to step to the police, but according to an anonymous worker at the LGBT Centre is has to happen. He points out what the government or the city council can do to make it easier.
All in all you can say there is still a long way to go. Luckily activist see a bright future where everyone can be and express themselves in their own way.
Door Brendan van Mil en Puck Vriends