Neighbours fill street with rainbow flags to support gay man threatened by homophobes

Residents of a street in Manchester all displayed rainbow flags after Alex Hancock received homophobic abuse.

A group of neighbours stand outside a house with a rainbow flag hanging from the upstairs window
Image: Liz Sharpley

Proving themselves to be true neighbours, the residents of a Manchester street pulled together to show solidarity for a young gay man who was subjected to homophobic abuse.

It all began when Alex Hancock hung a rainbow flag from the window of his house on Wellington Crescent to celebrate the upcoming Manchester Pride celebrations. Mere hours later, as he was outside loading items into his car, two men approached and began to scream homophobic abuse at him, incensed by the sight of the flag.

Alex told a local newspaper, “I was going to see my partner in Stockport and I was just putting some things in my car. These two lads walked past my house. Once they’d got further down the street they started verbally attacking me. They were calling me a fucking batty boy, a cock sucker, a poof, shouting all this really vile abuse.”

Alex responded, telling them “they should educate themselves and that they should leave this neighbourhood.”

This enraged the men even more. “One of them started walking towards me. He said he was going to batter me and kill me.” The men eventually continued on, leaving Alex shaken.

Following the incident, a stunned Alex shared what had happened on social media, little expecting the response which was to come from his neighbours. Alex told Metro, “It all started with one of my neighbours, Liz, who responded to the original email letting them (the other neighbours) know what had happened. She was acting in solidarity and was putting up a flag anyway and said she would put in an order for some more flags and it just spiralled from there.”

Alex was surprised and touched when 30 rainbow flags soon hung from houses up and down Wellington Crescent, displaying their support for all to see. Alex continued, “The community is just very accepting, open and diverse and they wanted to put two fingers up to the haters… 

“Often it is the LGBT+ community that speak out when something like this happens, but in this case it has been the whole community. It’s been totally led by my neighbours and that’s really touched me.”

This overwhelming example of support is so important at a time when far right groups try to cause division with hateful rhetoric. Here’s to those who show the true meaning of community spirit.

© 2019 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.

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