'There are places we wouldn't hold hands' - LGBT+ community demand action to tackle hate-crime attacks
Members of the LGBT+ community have spoken out against hate crimes in Dublin, saying there are still some streets in the city where they don't feel safe.
The Government doesn't gather national statistics on hate crime, racist attacks or discrimination because there is no purpose-built hate-crime legislation.
Members of the LGBT+ community gathered outside Leinster House this afternoon at a 'kissing protest' to demand hate-crime legislation.
Clondalkin man Marc Power was attacked after arranging to meet a man through a gay-dating app last month, an incident which is being treated by gardaí as a homophobic attack.
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“There are definitely places where we wouldn’t hold hands,” said Philip Klubicka from Cabra, who attended the protest with his boyfriend, Daniel Dudek.
“A man got beat up in Capel Street a few days ago because he was kissing his boyfriend and that’s just off the corner off Pantibar, that’s where people go,” he said.
“One time we were kissing on Tara Street and someone just cycled past on a bike and yelled an insult at us.
“It does frighten us. So there are still places where we have to be careful,” he added.
Lynn Tracey said that she worries about her transgender daughter Alice (20) when she goes out on her own.
“I worry about her because I think when you’re slightly different, people can look at you in a different way,” she told Independent.ie.
“If you present as something that’s not absolutely normal, people can misinterpret who you are and who you represent and you can be in a little bit more danger than everybody else,” she said.
“When you’re transgender, your experiences of teenagehood are a little bit different.
“I think her social experience is different than a standard social experience,” she said.
An Garda Síochána introduced a working hate-crime definition as part of its diversity and integration strategy earlier this month.
Hate crime is now defined as a criminal offence perceived to be motivated by a hostility towards "age, disability, race, colour, nationality, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation or gender".
According to the CSO, hate-based crimes are being underestimated by at least 27pc due to incorrect or inadequate logging of crimes on the Garda Pulse system.
Eddie McGuinness, who has been the victim of both verbal and physical abuse, encouraged people to report hate crimes.
“We need more people to report both physical and verbal crimes to An Garda Síochána so that the figures can be shown that both physical and verbal abuse is there,” he said.
“You shouldn’t get beat up or nearly kicked to death just because you’re a member of the community, why should that happen to us?” he added.