The Irish State must renew their efforts to combat homophobia and not become complacent about hate crime towards the LGBT+ community just because same-sex marriage is legal, activist and drag performer Panti Bliss has said.
Panti was speaking following the homophobic attack on Marc Power in Dublin last week. Panti said the premeditated attack on Power left her in shock.
“What was scary about it was that it wasn’t just some random thing that happened on the spur of the moment, they planned it, and that is really horrifying.”
Panti added that although Ireland has made strides towards equality for the LGBT+ community, there is still a long road ahead for ensuring Ireland is a safe place for LGBT+ people, part of which is the introduction of hate crime legislation.
“People have the sense that we voted for marriage equality, and everything’s grand, that there are no homophobes in Ireland anymore. We drove them out like St Patrick with the snakes. Of course, there are, and there always will be, and there will always be people who are just bad.
“We have made great progress, but we can still make more. There’s always going to be bad apples; that is the way of the world. But there are more than you would think who would be quietly applauding what those a**holes did.”
Panti received an award from the Lord Mayor’s office for her role in making Dublin a more open city.
— Dr Panti Bliss-Cabrera (@PantiBliss) October 18, 2019
Gardaí treating Dublin homophobic attack on gay man as a hate crime
On Thursday, October 18, gardaí confirmed the attack on Marc Power is being treated as a hate crime. It is unusual for hate incidents to be classified as a hate crime and could be an indication of increased efforts from Gardaí in tackling racism and homophobia.
While no specific legislation currently exists for hate crime in Ireland, a judge can consider hate crime motivations while sentencing.
Last week, as part of the gardaí diversity and integration strategy, they introduced a working hate crime definition.
The strategy defines a hate crime as:
“Any criminal offence which is perceived by the victim or any other person to, in whole or in part, be motivated by hostility or prejudice, based on actual or perceived age, disability, race, colour, nationality, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation or gender.”
© 2019 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.
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