Campaigners ponder ways to stop homophobia

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Gay campaigners are considering setting up a charity to campaign against homophobia through encouraging law changes, staff training and fundraising concerts.

The organisation, Kiss Goodbye to Homophobia, is being set up in reaction to a spate of murders in the gay community in the last year including Jody Dobrowski on Clapham Common, Michael Fardon in Northampton and most recently 67-year-old Malcolm Bryan, who was found dead at the bottom of a stairwell in a block of flats in Portsmouth last month.

The first meeting is being held in a couple of weeks at the Boston Clipper gay pub in Northampton, which was the last place Mr Fardon was seen before he was found dead and left behind nearby rubbish bins.

Suggestions for the charity so far include pushing for a law against incitement to homophobic hatred, having information reporting facilities in all gay venues and training staff to be able to take witness statements.

Once set up, the charity also proposes to hold at least 5 major fundraising concerts a year around the UK as well as an official Kiss Goodbye to Homophobia day.

A statement on the group’s website said: “We know from the past event which a few celebrities were in support and we are hoping that once we take this on a more national level we will be able to get more celebrities involved who would be willing to take this on as an official charity they support.”

The group also plans to produce an educational DVD highlighting the importance of reporting all homophobic crime.

Last month the Boston Clipper held a memorial event under the name Kiss Goodbye to Homophobia to remember Mr Fardon, the success of that event and recent murder of Mr Bryan has spurred campaigners on to launch this new scheme.

Matt Morris from the Boston Clipper is encouraging more ideas, writing on an online message board, he said: “Its the first step to what we are wanting to achieve and we welcome suggestions from everyone, so even if your not wanting to be a representative of the charity itself and wish to help in other ways, then please come along.”

The first meeting will be held in the Guidhall, Northampton, on Tuesday 17 October at 630pm.