BIRMINGHAM — (02-13-23) — Birmingham LGBT Centre has been attacked for the third time with homophobic vandalism worth thousands of dollars in damages. It is also the third time it has been subjected to criminal damage in recent years.
Last week staff members of the Birmingham LGBT Centre arrived to work to find the words “dirty bastards” scratched on to the front door. The hate filled message cannot be removed unless the door is replaced. Staff have covered it with a rainbow flag until the door can be replaced.
The Birmingham LGBT Centre urged anyone with information to contact the police. “This is not what we want our service users to see when they come to the Centre. It’s the third time we have been vandalized.”
The LGBT centre has had its windows smashed on two previous occasions. They knew it was targeted as it was the only building in the area to suffer damage from vandals.
Lawrence Barton, the director of Birmingham Pride and the Nightingale club in the Gay district said there had been an increase of homophobic abuse in the district in recent years.
“We’ve had people driving through the area and behaving in a homophobic way, people have had urine thrown at them, abuse shouted at them through car doors, and some quite terrible physical attacks,” said Barton. “So people have been left feeling vulnerable and exposed, but action has been taken.” said Barton.
Barton continued…”The latest attack on the LGBT Centre was “neither shocking or surprising”. “That’s the point, you think OK, here we go again. What is going to be next?” said Barton.
The damage to the LGBT Centre comes just weeks after West Midlands police announced they had set up a “Rainbow Street Watch” for the city’s Gay village, the first of its kind in the country.
Police are also recruiting volunteers to patrol the Gay village in response to community feedback suggesting there was increasing concern about hate crime and personal safety.
Barton said the street watch and an increase police presence in the area is welcomed.
“We’ll know when we live in a progressive society when we don’t need these things.” said Barton.
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Article by: Paul Goldberg, Staff Writer
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