Liverpool marchers join fight against homophobia

HUNDREDS of marchers united to send a clear message to homophobic thugs that they are not wanted in Liverpool.

Around 1,500 people of all ages braved wintry conditions to join yesterday’s walk through the city centre.

It was organised after the attack on Merseyside Police constable James Parkes, 22, who was left fighting for his life after a beating outside Superstar Boudoir, on Stanley Street, last month.

Among those attending the march yesterday was the mum of murdered gay teenager Michael Causer.

Michael’s killer was sentenced on the basis it was not a hate crime but his family have always believed he died because of his sexuality.

Mum Marie, from Whiston said: “It’s been a fantastic turn-out. This is what we need.

“We’re here to get the message across that enough is enough and that homophobia isn’t acceptable, not here, not anywhere.

“It’s to unite everyone and show that we’re all equal, nobody’s any different. People can be what they want to be and wear what they want to wear.

“My son was murdered for being what he was and for living the life he wanted to live.”

The marchers gathered at St George’s Plateau before following a route through the city centre to the New Picket, off Jamaica Street, where they heard speeches.

Among them was gay Liverpool councillor Steve Radford, who said: “It was great to walk through the main shopping area of the city and show that gays and lesbians will not be treated as second-class citizens in our city, and that an injury on one is an injury on all of us.

“It was important we made a public statement in a dignified way.”

Cllr Radford also read out a message of support for the march from the Bishop of Liverpool, the Rt Rev James Jones, on behalf of all the denominations in the city.

The demonstration was organised after Edge Hill student Emma Stewart set up a Facebook page called Liverpool March Against Homophobia, which gained more than 1,000 members in 24 hours.

It now has more than 6,500 members and acts as a forum to speak out against homophobia.

Organisers said the importance of the march had been shown yet again after the attack last week on a 19-year-old student, who was battered in the city centre by an eight-strong gang hurling homophobic abuse.

Emma, 24, said: “These attacks should not be tolerated, and this march is a good way of showing Liverpool at large that they won’t be from now on.”

Originally posted in the Liverpool Echo

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