London’s newest LGBTQ+ Community Centre vandalised overnight
Idiot with a spray can defaces new centre for LGBTQ people.
A new pop-up LGBTQ+ Centre in London was vandalised overnight, with someone spray painting the word ‘lame’ across the venue’s entry sign.
The centre, which opened in December, was put together as a response to the severe isolation and loneliness many members of the LGBTQ+ community felt since the beginning of the pandemic and with numerous lockdowns.
It aims to provide comfort and solace for LGBTQ+ Londoners and their friends and allies.
Taking to Instagram (January 5th), the Centre posted: “Unfortunately this morning we arrived at the Centre to see it’s been vandalised.”
“Some might think the Centre is ‘lame’, as the graffiti suggests, but we know that the Centre is important to so many and we will ✨never✨let this stop us from opening our doors to those who need us.”
Speaking to GLUE, representatives from the pop-up said: “It’s incredibly upsetting to see our Centre defaced in this way, but it has already demonstrated how strong and resilient our community is.”
Continuing: “We’ve received an outpouring of support on social media, and countless kind offers to help us remove it. We’re so grateful for all the support and solidarity. We need our community to know that we will never let something like this stop us from opening our doors to all who need us.”
Based out of Blackfriars, London, the pop-up offers a holistic programme of services, events, talks, workshops, combined with a café space that invites visitors to simply just be.
Initially launched as a pop-up, for a six-month period, the acting centre is designed to serve as proof of concept and as a micro-version of what a future permanent Centre would look like.
The Centre has a café that is open to all, with a ‘pay what you can afford’ payment model and a ‘pay it forward’ board. They also boast a programme of sober events, which in recent weeks have included free Christmas meals for LGBTQ+ elders and homeless folks, queer book club, film screenings, speed dating, yoga and meditation, as well as partnerships with LGBTQ+ charities and service providers to deliver a range of services including sexual health testing and youth groups.
Although the above incident is, relatively, only a minor offence, in 2121 the UK saw an alarming surge in reports of violence against LGBTQ+ people and their freedom throughout the year.
There were numerous reports of LGBTQ-targeted vandalism across the year, including Milton Keynes Pride and the defacing of queer street art off Manchester’s Canal Street (below).
The UK Government’s National LGBT Survey found that 40% of respondents experienced a negative incident in the 12 months before the survey, rising to an astonishing 54% for trans people. Since then, reports of hate crime have increased even further.