As part of LGBT+ History Month, Wiltshire Police posted a blog by crime recorder and NPAA Coordinator Dave Grainger on his personal experience as a victim of a homophobic assault. To mark the beginning of Pride Month 2022, Dave has kindly allowed us to share his article to raise awareness of hate crime
LGBTQ+ month for me is a time to reflect and for me personally to reflect on inclusion and acceptance of people’s differences.
Before I joined Wiltshire Police, my involvement with the police was only around my previous job of reporting and dealing with shoplifters and burglaries. That was until a night out in Swindon – a night out that changed my life and left me with memories that will live with me forever.
I had left the Mailcoach in Swindon, a gay friendly venue, and was heading up through Regent Street to the Pink Rooms, a former gay nightclub. As I walked alone the short distance between the two venues, four men were walking in the same direction. As they came to my left side they asked where I was going, and I had no reason to lie and said “The Pink Rooms”. I can remember one of the men asking if I was gay and again since coming out I never thought about saying no so I said yes – and it was then my night changed.
The four men quickly circled me, my glasses were removed, the blows started to my face and body. I ended up on the floor where I was kicked, and after my wallet was taken, they ran away. Blood pouring from my busted lip, I made it to the Pink Rooms where an ambulance and the police were called. When I arrived at Great Western Hospital the police officers were fantastic, and after being swabbed the hospital looked after me very well.
Unfortunately, the suspects were never found. The cut lip and bruises disappeared, but the memory of that night lives on and for me the memories came flooding back whilst alone in Bath walking to my team’s Christmas meal last year. Unknown to me, many of my team had met up before the meal for cocktails – as I walked alone, I was very conscious of my surroundings, and although the anxiety was there, I made it to the venue, so a success in a way for me.
My experience is very personal, but sadly is not uncommon where being who you are can result in physical attacks, and in some countries is still punishable by death. Also, sadly many people don’t have the time or inclination to learn and accept others, which is why I feel LGBTQ+ month is very important. I hope that those who feel they don’t need to know or understand open themselves to other people’s differences and grow their inclusivity. ∎
This blog was originally published on LinkedIn by Wiltshire Police – it is reproduced here with kind permission of the author
Read more about hate crime and how you can report it at report-it.org.uk