Monday, February 01, 2010
Kensington Remembers 2010 - Fighting Homophobia
The fourth in our series of Kensington Remembers events dealt with the ongoing battle against homophobia.
On Monday night we were joined by Marrie and Michael Causer with daughter Debbie, to see the first of two Homotopia Films - the Invisible Death of Michael Causer, which explored the media silence around the murder of their 18 year old son in a horrific homophobic attack in Liverpool in 2008.
Following an interesting audience discussion we then watched Project Triangle, a documentary concerning the trip of 12 young gay Merseysiders to Auschwitz where they learnt about the murder of thousands of gay men by Hitler's Nazi in concentration camps.
The documentary also highlighted the work of Merseyside Police's Hate Crime Team, SIGMA who work with victims and support and encourage them to report attacks.
The young people took the opportunity to explore and discuss with the audience how the trip had affected them and how they have learnt from the experience. We then had a short group discussion about some positive campaigning that we can move forward with, and there was the beginnings of a plan to create and develop a refuge for young gay people who are made homeless by unsupportive parents. I don't want to jeopardise those early plans by talking about them here, but it was a positive discussion.
On Saturday I represented Liverpool Labour Party, alongside Councillor Paul Brant at a wreath laying (pink triangles) organised by Homotopia in St John's Gardens at the memorial to the persecuted, to remember all the gays murdered in the holocaust. We were joined by the Lord Mayor of Liverpool and about 10 police officers, some fire officers, some of the young people from the trip, members of the gay community and Michael Causer's family.
I should point out the significance of the pink triangle. Inmates in Concentration Camps wore fabric badges to determine the reason for their incarceration. Homosexuals were given pink triangles. A full explanation of all the badges and codings can be see here
Red triangle—political prisoners: communists, trade unionists, liberals, social democrats, Freemasons, anarchists.
Green triangle— "habitual criminals" (convicts, ofttimes Kapos, serving in exchange for reduced sentences or parole).
Blue triangle—foreign forced laborers, emigrants.
Pink triangle—sexual offenders which included homosexual men along with rapists, bestiality and paedophiles.
Purple triangle—"Bible Students" (Jehovah's Witnesses).
Black triangle—people who were deemed "asocial elements" and "work shy" including
Roma (Gypsies), who were later assigned a brown triangle
The mentally retarded
The mentally ill
Vagrants and beggars
Brown triangle—Roma (Gypsies) (previously wore the black triangle).
Uninverted red triangle—an enemy POW, spy or a deserter.