In the wake of two recent hate crimes in the city of London, an organized rally is set to take place Wednesday (Oct. 7), in the hopes that all Londoners will stand together and say enough is enough.
The rally, a University of Western Ontario pride week event, is organized and presented by PFLAG Canada, Diversity Training Live and CAW Local 27, and takes place at the Victoria Park bandshell at 6 p.m.
The gathering comes on the heels of two recent violent crimes that saw gay men victimized by their attackers simply because of their sexual orientation.
On Sept. 8, Brandon Wright, 22, jumped from a moving vehicle on Kipps Lane in London, in order to escape a vicious beating at the hands of a suspect he claims expressed anti-gay sentiments prior to and during the assault.
On Sept. 26, Erik Rozenski and his boyfriend were walking hand-in-hand along Central Avenue in London when they were attacked by two men who had made anti-gay remarks just moments before the assaults.
However, Michelle Boyce with the HBT (Homophobia, Bi-phobia, Transphobia) Working Group in London, which has a mandate to reduce and eliminate violence and hate against lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender individuals in the London area, said the rally is not just about this one sector of society.
"It's not a gay rally, a lesbian or a trans rally. It's a rally for Londoners to come out and say that these behaviours are not acceptable in our city and won't be tolerated against anyone, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, race, religion, or anything," Boyce said.
One of the victims in the most recent attack, Rozenski, a Fanshawe student who has said the psychological impact of the attack on he and his partner is more damaging than any physical wounds he received, will be the guest speaker at the rally, and additional speakers will include community leaders, politicians and officials from across the region. (read more)