Belfast Telegraph

You've dropped your gay card: Green Party man wants all homophobic attacks reported

A member of the Green party has urged victims of hate crime to go to the police after he himself had a gay slur thrown at him while walking through Belfast.

Malachai O’Hara, who has stood as an election candidate for the party in north Belfast, was threatened at the junction of North Street on Wednesday.

A young man, thought to be aged between 18 and 20, rolled down the window of a car he was in to tell him he had dropped something.

“At first I thought this was pleasant and courteous and I checked my coat and bag and pockets, but didn’t seem to have misplaced something," he said.

“After I realised that nothing of importance was missing, I dismissed it and thanked them and proceeded to cross at the lights in front of their car. The young man then shouted out the window that I had dropped my ‘gay card’."

A woman, thought to be the boy's mother, apologised to him but as they drove off the boy threatened to "knock his balls in".

Figures show the PSNI recorded 264 incidents with a homophobic motivation in the year to June 30.

Malachai who has received death threats in the past said the incident was "water off a duck’s back", but insisted it was vital every incident of hate crime was reported to police. He is waiting to have an interview with police over the prank.

"I know the damage that casual and unchallenged homophobia causes. I was not letting this go,” he said.

“Unfortunately, I was not quick enough to get the car registration, but luckily there is CCTV at this junction and we may be able to get the registration and follow up.”

He added: "Too many LGBTQ people shrug off casual homophobia and transphobia because they don’t deem it important enough or they are not convinced anything will be done.

“It’s hugely important that every incident and crime is reported. It allows police and politicians to understand the true picture of everyday harassment experienced by LGBTQ people.

“Whether we have a returned Assembly or not in the near future, it is time to review and update our hate crime legislation to make sure it is fit for purpose,” Malachai said.

Belfast Telegraph Digital

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