A solidarity protest against homophobia is being held in Birmingham today in response to a string of violent hate crime attacks in the city.
The protest will start outside the Nightingale Club, the city's oldest and largest LGBT venue.
On Sunday, 10th Oct, John-Paul Kesseler was left with blood pouring down his face after he was attacked with a wine bottle for holding hands with another man, on Holloway Circus.
Another punched in the face with such force he needed emergency surgery, and two men who were attacked with bottles in August leading to three arrests but as yet no charges.
Meanwhile, the city's leaders, Birmingham City Council Leader Ian Ward, West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner Simon Foster, Mayor of the West Midlands Andy Street, have released a joint statement, stating that they are 'disgusted' with the recent 'vicious homophobic attacks'.
“The recent abhorrent, vicious homophobic attacks in Birmingham disgust the three of us in equal measure."
“For someone to be assaulted because of who they are or who they love is simply not acceptable."
“But hate will not win and our message to the homophobes is that they do not represent Birmingham, and they never will. Everyone has a right to feel safe on our streets, no matter where they are, day or night.
“West Midlands Police has increased patrols in and around the Gay Village and the Police and Crime Commissioner has commissioned a new £200,000 service to support victims of hate crime.
“Meanwhile, Birmingham City Council is providing free hate crime training to businesses at Southside venues as well as helping to develop a space open to anyone who may be feeling vulnerable when out and about in the Gay Village and the local area.
“Whilst the West Midlands Combined Authority has been working with Southside Bid and other partners to look at issues such as CCTV and 24/7 public transport to improve night-time safety in the area."
“We are a diverse city. We are an inclusive city. We are a city that says no to crimes like these."
“The message from us could not be clearer: We are proud of our region’s diversity. We are proud of our difference. We all feel an unwavering duty to stand together, to root out these crimes and to bring the perpetrators to justice.”