Fighting back with confidence and pride

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The rise in homophobic attacks (Feature, Socialist Review, December 2009) is being met head-on by a confident and angry resistance.

Following the brutal attack on a young gay man outside a gay club in Liverpool, over 1,500 people gathered at very short notice for a defiant vigil which attracted people from the gay clubs, trade unionists and a wide range of gay and straight people.

But this was not enough, and another march was organised through Liverpool supported by a wide range of people united in their anger. There were banners from a number of unions, as well as Liverpool Trades Council.

For some of the younger people on the march, it was the first time they had taken to the streets to fight back against bigotry and homophobia. It was clear that they did so with confidence and pride. One of my old badges from the 1990s was spontaneously updated for the march: "Out of the closet and onto the street - smash the BNP!"

It was a great meeting of activists who go back to the fight against Section 28 and LGBT youth whose determination and self-assurance is the direct result of our years of activism. It was this confidence which then took a section of the marchers out of the backstreets the police had assigned us to, and straight through Liverpool One shopping centre. So we can now boast that an anti-homophobia march was the first to defy the ban on demonstrations on this "private land"!

We are now organising a Unite Against Fascism event for LGBT History Month in February, as well as a Love Music Hate Homophobia night in the clubs. The young people had no difficulty linking the undisguised homophobia of the BNP to the attacks in Liverpool, but they also spoke of attacks on other sections of society.

We know that solidarity and unity are key to fighting against fascism and that these are things that have to be built and developed.

Pura Ariza
UCU LGBT National Standing Committee, Liverpool