In light of the marked increase in violent acts against the LGBTI+ community, exemplified by the horrific, homophobic attack on Danilo Matta there will be a kissing protest at the doorstep of the Dail in an effort to demand new hate crime legislation.
Danilo was subject to a brutal homophobic attack after saying goodbye to his boyfriend outside his flat in September this year. Having been beaten with a metal bar, it represents an attack based on his identity and raises concerns to the fact currently in Ireland there is no hate crime legislation to differentiate between definitively different acts of abuse and violence.
In response to the attack Danilo spoke to the GCN to vocalise his desire for the government to introduce legislation. He said, “My wish is that no one should experience hurt in this kind of way anymore. It’s horrible. I just want Dublin to be a bit more safe for everyone. Not just gay people, but for everyone.”
Having made no attempt to roll out any new laws, hundreds will gather on Kildare Street Wednesday 6 November to put pressure on legislators to make much needed changes.
Despite the recent #CallItOut campaign, incidences of hate crimes are increasing which is disappointing against the backdrop of fairly recent social gains through Marriage Equality and the Gender Recognition Act.
Speaking to Niall Cowley who is a friend of Danilo and helping organise the event, he said, “We wanted to do something that says this isn’t Dublin.”
“We are going to respond to it as creatively and as beautifully as possible, there is nothing more loving than kissing. We spoke to Danilo and he thought it was a brilliant idea and with his blessing we decided to go ahead with the idea.”
“With things like this it’s so important people turn up. We are looking people from the LGTBI+ community and allies, we want straight people to come down and kiss as well, it’s about the freedom to show public displays of affection no matter what, gay or straight you should be able to do that.”
There has been other recent, high profile cases of hate crimes, like that of Marc Power who was also brutally beaten by a gang that tricked him into meeting before attacking him. However Niall says that in these cases the victims have been defiant and come forward but it may not always be the case with others preferring to remain silent out of fear.
“There’s loads of other incidents we just don’t know about.”
The protest also will act as a statement of support for everyone within the community in the face of the increase in attacks. Niall continued to say that it’s an act of, “defiance, a show of strength of the vibrant and resilient LGBTQI+ community and a show of solidarity to Danilo and other victims of attacks. It’s all about visibility, we aren’t going to hide, we are going to do it as publicly as possible.”
Click here for more information on the event and how you can get involved.