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Support Group Believes Attack Is 'Tip Of The Iceberg'

Tuesday November 19 2013

THE Barnsley Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Forum believes an attack on a gay couple in a bar is just the tip of the iceberg of homophobic incidents in the town.

The two victims were on the dance floor of Digital on Wellington Street when one was headbutted and the other was punched in the face by the same man.

Police believe the pair, aged 24 and 32 and from Barnsley, were attacked for their sexuality and are treating it as a homophobic hate crime.

Kevan Riggett, the co-chairman of the Barnsley Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Forum, said there were more than 127 such crimes reported in the town last year - but he believes that that's the tip of the iceberg and said much more went unreported.

Incidents have included people being verbally abused, physical attacks such as being hit with glass bottles and punched in the face in shops, as well as neighbours and children shouting abuse.

Kevan said: "The gay community has been up against this kind of behaviour for so many years. I wish all LGBT people would report even the basic hate crime incidents such as name calling.

"We've helped support people who have had issues in their own homes and we've worked with the police to help them. Berneslai Homes has even evicted people for homophobic hate crime."

He also linked the case to that of gay teenager Steven Simpson, who died when he was set on fire at his 18th birthday party after receiving gay taunts.

Kevan said the biggest challenge the forum faces is that gay people vastly under report hate crime in Barnsley.

"It's really sad. The forum is trying to raise the profile of reporting homophobic hate crime," he added.

"We've been there for people that have been attacked and supported them in many different ways and work to what their needs are.

"We don't want another Steven Simpson case."

The man involved in the attack in Digital on October 27 is described as white, between 6ft and 6ft 4ins, of a stocky build and in his late 20s.

Witnesses to the incident, or anyone with information, should call 101 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111, quoting incident number 691 of November 12, 2013.

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22 Showing 22 comments

Reply Posted by Hannah on Tuesday November 19 2013 at 10:16
Why remove my comment? Everyone was thinking it! The police won't do anything as they are mostly homophobic

Reply Posted by Lauren on Tuesday November 19 2013 at 10:26
@Hannah - don't be so stupid. Saying that is like playing with fire.
I can't believe there are people like you. Stop branding everyone in the police when you don't have a clue.

Reply Posted by human on Tuesday November 19 2013 at 10:41
I am dismayed by the actions of some people. No one has the right to judge or indeed violate the space of another person. LGBT, black white or yellow, we are all people. Some people are disgraceful!

Reply Posted by Hannah on Tuesday November 19 2013 at 10:46
IF you saw my 1st comment it wasn't against anyone other than the person that did this to these 2 people and that is why, LAUREN, I dont understand why my comment was removed

Reply Posted by Hannah on Tuesday November 19 2013 at 10:52
And the bobby's... I haven't got the time of day for them

Reply Posted by to Hannah Anon on Wednesday November 20 2013 at 08:46
stick to your knitting and moaning,thats what you do best.

Reply Posted by anon on Tuesday November 19 2013 at 13:25
havent got the time of day for bobby's, but they'll be the first people you ring when you're in trouble, right?

Reply Posted by zaza on Tuesday November 19 2013 at 13:33
Being gay,lesbian transgender etc isn't a choice some1 makes overnight,the person is born that way.I recently lost a very closr transgender friend and she had to endure ridicule,sniggers n taunts where ever she went.society these days disgusts me.....these people are someone's son/daughter.be who you are n say what you think cos those that matter don't mind n those that mind don't matter...... LIVE N LET LIVE !!

Reply Posted by Anon on Tuesday November 19 2013 at 14:37
I'm gay and myself and partner haven't experienced much homophobia, but I partly understand it. People that aren't gay don't understand it and I appreciate that and try not to be too noticeable or shove it down anyones throat.
I've had name calling but mostly from kids, it's really upsetting as I just want a normal life-I work hard and have never slept around etc. It's awful if this was a homophobic attack, just thank god it is taken very seriously these days and gets a lot of press attention maybe make people think twice.

Reply Posted by Tony on Tuesday November 19 2013 at 17:45
Anon - "shove it down anyone's throat" you claim to be gay yet cannot apply the same consideration that you ask of others?

Reply Posted by bendover on Tuesday November 19 2013 at 17:55
Tony,stop been such a fool.I AM GAY and we still get a stigma against us..picking faults on some wording is very childish!!

Reply Posted by Pete on Wednesday November 20 2013 at 11:53
Did you giggle when you chose your name?

Reply Posted by Andrew on Tuesday November 19 2013 at 18:33
I am a board member of the forum and have to say South Yorkshire Police have been amazing in the support for both the forum and dealing with hate and harassment crimes. They are actively working to look how the situations can be addressed better and to support the communities. Hate crime is now being more reported than before because of the support that is available and by people reporting it will show a true picture of what is happening and how best it can be addressed.

Reply Posted by Steve on Tuesday November 19 2013 at 19:25
What makes the police believe this is a hate crime? Is there any evidence except the fact that these people are gay? If that's the case then it's pure speculation and that in itself could fuel further attacks and unnecessary worry and paranoia in the future. For all we know this guy being the thug that he is could have hit these guys because they got served before him or they accidentally bumped into him.

It just makes me wonder if a man who was fat got a punch from this guy would the police 'believe' he was attacked because of his weight? Probably not. But if a fat gay guy was hit would they say it's because he's fat, or gay? It's ridiculous and I think by making this assault newsworthy based on the fact these two happened to be gay is just asking for trouble.

Just to be clear I have lots of gay friends and I am not homophobic in the slightest. Furthermore I respect the police and think they do a great job. Just thought I'd get that out there before I get any abuse about my opinion.

Reply Posted by Nigel on Tuesday November 19 2013 at 19:29
Steve, there are aspects of the case that can not be revealed due to legal reasons but from what people who know they guys have reported previously there is strong evidence to suggest it was a hate crime

Reply Posted by Steve on Tuesday November 19 2013 at 19:38
Right ok. Say no more. :-)

Unwarranted random attacks are disgraceful enough, but to do it to someone based on how they live their life makes it even worse. Being gay is not a life choice, it is who they are and that can never be changed. This day in age no one should be scared to be who they truly are and it sickens me to know there are people out there living a lie because of bullies and thugs like the guy that assaulted these two.

Reply Posted by Andrew on Tuesday November 19 2013 at 20:41
Could not agree more Steve and the good thing is there is more support and information out there for anyone who has suffered hate crime. As I said above I am the secretary of the local LGBT forum and so encouraged by the support shown and hopefully by working together we can make Barnsley a safe place for everyone to go out and be who they are

Reply Posted by Hannah on Tuesday November 19 2013 at 19:31
I have relied on the police before and got me nowhere so now I 'deal' with things my own way, I realised that I don't need to depend on anyone and I am strong enough to take on life ;) its who I am

Reply Posted by Anon on Wednesday November 20 2013 at 08:47
Sounds a bit BUTCH to me.

Reply Posted by katie on Wednesday November 20 2013 at 09:08
The police do a fantastic job and so supportive of the Gay and Straight communities without judgement. They are more prejudiced of the area of barnsley you live in than sexuality

Reply Posted by Peter on Wednesday November 20 2013 at 09:12
Everybody bleeds red what ever race colour or sexuality we are . Live and let live we are all the same inside

Reply Posted by T on Friday November 22 2013 at 11:07
This is a load of rubbish. Yeah those 2 guys got a smack but it was nothing to do with them being gay. The guy that hit them is just a knob head but it was nothing homophobic. So easy to play the race/gay/etc card. I got hit by an Asian bloke once an I'm a lass but I didn't think for 1 minute he did it because I'm white. I just smacked him back.

ipso Regulated