LGBT+ group left ‘frightened’ after queer Liverpool art viciously torn down in suspected hate crime

side by side images of Rosa Kusabbi's "Hate Has No Place in Liverpool" and Ben Youdan's "Queer With No Fear"

Two pieces of art made in response to the rise in anti-LGBT+ hate crimes in Liverpool have been viciously torn down just days after going on display.

Homotopia – the UK’s longest-running LGBT+ arts and culture festival – said on social media it was “devastated” after two acts of vandalism just days apart.

On Saturday (30 October), Homotopia reported that Rosa Kusabbi’s artwork “Hate Has No Place in Liverpool” was “ripped down” from its display in School Lane. Four days later, on Wednesday (3 November), it said that Ben Youdan’s artwork “Queer With No Fear” had also “been removed and destroyed”.

Homotopia said it is “always braced for an attack on our existence” as a queer group.

“We don’t know why these works came down,” it added. “But when something of this nature happens to work that is titled ‘Queer With No Fear’ and ‘Hate Has No Place in Liverpool’ we feel frightened.”

The group emphasised that it is not the “sole responsibility of LGBTQIA people to keep each other safe”, and that “providing safety” for the queer community “includes physical and emotional safety” as well as “unconditional support”.

“It is about believing queer people, and it is about understanding that we are scared,” Homotopia added.

The two pieces were part of a series installed for the festival’s “Queer The City” outdoor exhibition.

A picture of Ben Youdan's artwork that reads 'Queer with no fear' on display in a window

Ben Youdan’s ‘Queer With No Fear’ was destroyed and removed from the window of FACT on Wood Street in Liverpool. The artwork was part of Homotopia’s “Queer The City” exhibition. (Provided)

Both incidents have been reported to the police and are being investigated. Homotopia said it is “working closely with FACT and the Liverpool City Council to find out both how and why the artwork was removed and destroyed”.

Merseyside Police told the BBC that the attacks are being treated as a hate crime. Sgt Jacqui Keeler said the force is “checking CCTV and are now inspecting other artwork around the city” which was installed as part of the exhibition.

“We are also engaging with the LGBTQ+ community to reassure them that we are taking this incident seriously, and we will take action against those responsible,” Keeler said.

A terrifying spate of anti-LGBT+ attacks has rocked Liverpool this year.

In June, a gay couple and their friends were attacked at knifepoint by a group of men who used vile homophobic slurs. Just a few days later, Josh Ormrod, a bisexual student, was brutally beaten in a horrific “unprovoked homophobic attack” in Concert Square after he left a nightclub.

There have been a number of other, similarly violent attacks on the LGBT+ community in the months since. In July, Aodhán Benson was left “traumatised” and “shocked” after he was attacked in Liverpool on a night out with friends to celebrate their final day of university.

Hundreds of people took to the streets of Liverpool to protest against the spike in violence against the LGBT+ community in June and again in September.