Determined marchers in Clapham for LGBT+ liberation on Saturday (Picture: Guy Smallman)
Up to 300 people marched in south London on Saturday night after two gay couples were attacked within six days in the area. The fourth Queer Night Pride was organised to show solidarity with those attacked and bring local LGBT+ people together in unity.
The march started at Clapham Common Station and marched past the Two Brewers nightclub, where the first homophobic attack took place, and finished at Arch Clapham bar.
March organiser Dan Glass said he was “so pleased” with the turnout, “We started these marches after my friend was attacked, and every night someone I knew had been,” he told Socialist Worker. “It was amazing to be together. It’s so important.”
Dan says the rise in hate and continued attacks on LGBT+ people have come directly from the Tories. “People are emboldened by their hate. It legitimises these attacks.
“But when we come out we’re not victims. We have collective strength and we’re not afraid.”
As protesters marched, people in local bars applauded and cheered. Marchers chanted, “We’re here, we’re queer, we will not live in fear, “Whose streets? Our streets” and “When our rights are under attack, what do we do? Stand up, fight back.”
Marchers are not going to be intimidated (Picture: Guy Smallman)
On Sunday 13 August two men were stabbed in Clapham in a homophobic attack outside a nightclub at 10.15pm. Both were taken to hospital. And last Saturday night two men were attacked in Brixton at 11pm while waiting for a bus.
One was punched in the back of the head, while the other describes being punched in the face “three or four times”.
One protester told Socialist Worker, “We were out in Brixton last night and my friend had homophobic abuse shouted at him by some guy because of the way he was dressed. It really shook him up. Someone stepped in and defended him, but it was horrible and unexpected.”
At the protest, people spoke about staying united, particularly with trans people, in the face of hate. It was a show of defiance to say LGBT+ people won’t hide in fear.
Another protester told Socialist Worker, “These attacks need a collectivist strength in reply. There was a real energy on the march. There was anger, but also a lot of hope.
“We’ve all experienced hate, but coming together to share those stories, talk, meet people are share love has been incredible.
“It was a great turnout. We didn’t have long to organise in response to the Clapham attack, but the fact that so many people have come out is really special. We will continue to stand up and fight back when we’re under attack.”
And protester Adrian added, “It’s nice to see people care. But I also know when I get the tube home I take my flag earrings out and cover up anything outwardly LGBT+. We’ve created a safe environment together, but we need to do that in the wider world too.
“These attacks are coming because of the Tories. They’ve been attacking trans people, and when they come for one of us it affects all of us.
“That’s why it’s also been amazing to have other minorities here, from Muslims to anti-racists fighting for refugees. We all need to come together.”
In the morning at nearby Honor Oak Pub, 150 anti-fascists defended Drag Queen StoryTime against far right Turning Point for the seventh time.
The response to the attacks in south London shows people are ready to resist oppression.