On Tuesday, October 4, attendees at a Tory event spearheaded by LGBT+ Conservatives were reportedly subjected to homophobic abuse. The event, which coincided with the larger Conservative Party Conference 2022 in Birmingham, aimed to celebrate queer diversity and inclusion, but was tarnished because of the actions of certain individuals.
Hundreds of people were in attendance at Reflex nightclub, as the event was open to anyone with a security pass including party members, lobbyists and other conference goers. However, according to ITV News, multiple people had to be removed from the gathering for allegedly using offensive language.
One man was reportedly escorted from the venue after calling a gay man a “f**”, and another “blind drunk” person was apparently kicked out for calling a woman “a dirty l*****,” also saying that she needed to watch her back.
The media outlet has been told that those accused of homophobia are Conservative Party members, but these claims have not been confirmed.
According to Elena Bunbury, Chair of LGBT+ Conservatives, the free party was spoiled “by the few that feel the need to be abusive”. Bunbury described the incident as “disgusting” and, speaking to ITV News, she added: “It’s a real shame this happened and shows why groups like ours are so important.”
The abuse my team at @LGBTCons have had tonight is disgusting. We’ve run a free event and it’s spoilt by the few that feel the need to to be abusive, not on at all. Thank you to those who were respectful, it means a lot ?
— Elena Bunbury (@elena_bunbury) October 5, 2022
Jessica Zbinden-Webster, Head of Women for LGBT+ Conservatives, also alluded to the abuse on Twitter, saying that “A lot of people showed themselves up at the @LGBTCons party”.
A lot of people showed themselves up at the @LGBTCons party last night.
We’re making a list and checking it twice.
If you’d like to offer an apology this morning, mine and @elena_bunbury ‘s DMs are open.
— Jessica (@jessicazwebster) October 5, 2022
A spokesperson for the Tory party responded to the claims, explaining: “We have had discussions with LGBT+ Conservatives regarding this incident, which took place outside of the conference secure zone, and offered them our support.
“If those involved are identified as members of the Party, we will launch a swift investigation,” they added.
Anneliese Dodds, Shadow Secretary of State for Women and Equalities called the reports “deeply troubling”, and said that “The Conservative Party must take these allegations seriously and investigate them urgently.
“Anyone found to have engaged in homophobic abuse must face disciplinary action,” she continued.
“Hate crime against LGBT+ people has doubled over the last five years under the Conservatives. Labour would act by making all LGBT+-related hate crimes aggravated offences,” Dodds concluded.
This is not the first time that this year’s Conservative Party Conference has come under fire with regards to queer issues. There was immediate backlash on Sunday, October 2, as it emerged that an anti-Trans LGB group was invited to attend the conference and have a stall for the second year in a row.
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