Members of the LGBTQ+ community “shifted” outside the Dail on Wednesday the 6th of November to encourage the Government to introduce hate crime legislation.
Ireland is one of few European countries without hate crime legislation, targeted crime on members of specific communities is treated the same as a regular dispute.
These two types of crime are different, the motivation behind hate crimes can be used as a threatening message to the rest of the chosen community, inciting violence on a person because of who they are. The LGBTQ+ community have expressed that “message crimes” have a rippling affect across the whole community.
“Shift The Hate Away” was strategically and peacefully used by the LGBTQ+ people to show intimacy in public and to feel safe while also making a political statement. The kissing protest outside the Dail using the hashtag #ShiftTheHateAway comes after the anti-homophobia, biphobia and transphobia campaign called #CallItOut.
The “Call It Out” campaign asks for cisgender and heterosexual contemporaries to act when they witness LGBTQ+ prejudice by verbally getting involved. However hate crime incidences are on the rise in Dublin in particular.
On the 15th of October, Marc Power, a gay man from Coolock, was subjected to a premeditated and targeted hate crime. He was assaulted after a fake profile on the gay dating app Grindr was used to lure him from his home to his local cinema where his attackers were waiting for him. He was then beaten by a group of four people with weapons.
Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan has welcomed the idea of introducing hate crime legislation stating, “Hate motivation for crime results in vulnerable groups and individuals being targeted simply for who they are. That is not acceptable to me or the Government, and I know that it is not acceptable to the Irish people.”
The #ShiftTheHateAway hashtag appeared on many TD’s Twitter pages and most notably by The George Dublin, the famous gay nightclub’s account. The page tweeted “Come join us like our lives depend on it! #ShiftTheHateAway”, which, depending on the severity of the hate crime attacks, could be true.
DCU LGBTA Society Chairperson, Fergal McGuirk, said “– one can’t even quote a public statistic on hate crimes in Ireland because of the lack of legislation. ‘Shift The Hate Away’ was a brilliant idea to make people aware if this issue. Hopefully now the government will take notice and action.”
Image Credit: Sonja Tutty