I’ve lived a fairly sheltered life as a lesbian. No overt homophobia, I wasn’t bullied at school but then I didn’t know about gays and lesbians until I was in my 20’s and at drama school and it wasn’t until a little later that I realised that lesbianism explained my feelings towards women and not towards men. I never felt there was something wrong with me and have always lived my life as an “out” lesbian and been accepted as such by colleagues and family. Clearly this is not the case with many of my friends and last year I was brought face to face with a monstrous hate crime when various news reports told us of the death of Ian Baynham who was attacked in Trafalgar Square whilst out celebrating.
Even if I’d not been a member of the Pink Singers I’d have attended the vigil that night but being able to be an active participant gave me a huge sense of community and a feeling that I was helping to make a stand to say enough is enough. Singers came from many of the lesbian and gay communities around the country, not just London and we all joined together with one voice to sing for Ian and all our brothers and sisters who have experienced hatred and persecution around the world.
The atmosphere that night whilst angry was also wonderful, electric. Standing on the steps in front of the National Gallery with London’s historical figures looking down at us, the lions quiet and the crowds respectful and caring of each other. IKEA provided night lights and some people came up with ingenious methods to keep them alight in the wind, so the space in Trafalgar Square was awash with light and at the end we all placed our still burning lights as a monument of remembrance.
The organisers, 17-24-30, have continued throughout the year to hold events to remind people that the problems have not gone away and we still need to sing out the message loud and clear – Hate Crime is NOT acceptable.
I’ll definitely be there on the 23rd (note to self – let Louise know) and hope that you’ll join me, the other Pinkies and other choirs to help support this event.
Details of the London Vigil Against Hate Crime 2010
7 pm – 9 pm
2 minute Silence : 8 pm