Hatred and discrimination have no place in Bristol in 2021.
That’s a statement everyone would agree with.
But when this truism stops being so black and white for people is when you put a rainbow crossing in the centre of our city.
Suddenly, this seemingly innocuous symbol to the LGBT community that people within that are welcomed and visible in our city ignited people’s staunch intolerance.
I shared a story about our city’s first rainbow crossing being targeted by vandals and how police are now investigating the hate crime, and within minutes, the anti-’woke’ brigade was out in force.
Scores of people posted on Facebook, arguing they had nothing against the LGBT community but why do they need their own crossing?
And the answer is very simple: as long as people are still being beaten up/bullied/made to feel suicidal because of who they love then we need to all stand against this discrimination.
Sure, rainbow crossings – which are popping up now all over the UK – on their own isn’t enough. But they are part of a bigger movement of uniting everyone to show we will not let people be attacked or abused for being themselves.
They also serve as a bold sign to children worried about coming out about their sexuality that they are accepted.
Under the many comments of people saying these crossings weren’t needed, a popular argument was that straight people get beaten up too. And yes that’s true, but they don’t get beaten up for being straight.
Someone else argued that discrimination against the LGBT community doesn’t happen as often as you think.
The latest figures show 14,491 crimes were committed against people because of their sexual orientation in 2018-19. That equates to 39 attacks per day.
But even one crime against anyone in the LGBT community is one too many and proves why we still have a long way to go.
Another described the crossing being created by ‘woke idiots’. If being woke ultimately means being decent and trying to create a fairer, more inclusive society, then I guess we must wear our ‘woke’ badges with pride.
The words of Daryn Carter MBE, organiser of Bristol Pride sums it up best: “The crossing will be a positive, unmissable reminder to celebrate diversity in all its forms and for us all to step up and stand up against prejudice and hate as we keep striving towards creating a better society for all.”
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