Gay Lawyer Digest 7

At Last, one Football Club deals with Homophobia at a Match

Finally, football is recognising that homophobic abuse is as unacceptable as any other abuse.  The news that a football fan was arrested at the match between Southampton and Brighton on Monday for shouting homophobic abuse. 

Gay Lawyers, a division of Giambrone, was involved in the rugby international Gareth Thomas’s campaign to end the discrepancy in the Football Offences Act 1991 where racial abuse is met with sanctions and penalties and homophobia is not included.  The year-long campaign has culminated in a Private Members Bill to amend the Act to include sanctions for homophobic abuse. 

Giambrone wrote the Code of Conduct which it is hoped will be used as guidance by football clubs across the country to help eradicate the spite of homophobia in football and offers continued support to the campaign.  The Code of Conduct guides football clubs as to how they can eliminate homophobia both during the matches and within the club outlining the steps that should be taken to ensure that individuals are reminded not to indulge in homophobic comment or behaviour and the penalties that may be delivered should they do so.


Paul O'Grady's response to Homophobic Comments to his Husband

The television personality Paul O’Grady’s experience of homophobia aimed at his husband on a plane recently is a blunt reminder of the casual abuse that is delivered on a daily basis to the LGBT community by homophobic thugs that think that they can say whatever they want without any reprisals.  The foul-mouthed thug may have been fortunate that he decided to deliver his rant on a plane as Paul O’Grady is no slouch in standing up for himself (in this case for his partner) and has been heard to observe that he was brought up in Birkenhead which is, well, let us say, a somewhat challenging area of Merseyside, Liverpool, and he advised the thug on the plane “You’re lucky we’re not in the street, mate, because you’d be eating your dinner through a straw.” 

The thug had been unaware that his target was Paul O’Grady’s partner, furthermore, he was sitting next to him.  Somewhat ironically the thug’s response was to suggest that Paul O’Grady was using his fame to “do whatever he wanted because he was famous”, seemingly oblivious of the fact that he has just stood up and delivered an appalling expletive-ridden outburst presumably just because he wanted to.  The cabin staff removed the man from business class for the remainder of the flight.

In consideration of the other passengers, Paul and his husband Andre Portasio decided not to press charges as everyone would have been held up on their journey by having to give statements to the police.


Gay Couple’s Birthday Celebration Break marred by Homophobic Guests and Hotel Owner

A gay couple, Nicole Calder and Lauren Inglis booked into a hotel in Newcastle to celebrate Nicole’s birthday which did not go well from the on-set.  The initial 20 minute wait to book in and thereafter being ushered into a room that did not reflect the original booking which had the only access to the basement which workmen needed to visit was not a promising start.  The fact that the room had not been cleaned nor had the linen been changed further solidified the bad feeling that the ladies had about the likelihood of having an enjoyable experience. 

However, the worst aspects of the whole encounter were the two incidents of homophobic abuse that  Nicole and Lauren were subjected to, first by rowdy guests in the adjacent room who were drunk and creating a noise, who when asked to keep the noise down subjected Lauren to vulgar sexual slurs and insults.  The exasperated women made an online complaint about the whole experience and were extremely shocked by the hotel owner’s reply; Andy Singh, the hotel owner, sent an email denying all their allegations and stating that they were lying and he would not be giving them a refund.  On receiving their reply indicating that they were not lying and they had not asked for a refund and that they would be making a complaint to the third party booking agent they received the shocking reply as follows: “please go ahead and do as you please your [sic] sort not fit enough to stay in a hotel people like you should be put in a cage with the rest of the wild animals”.   

The only consolation for such shocking abuse is that booking agent took their complaints seriously and research suggests that the hotel owner, whilst there is no excuse for using appalling language to abuse them, makes a habit of rejecting complaints and telling his unhappy guests are lying.  Andy Singh defended his comments by stating that they were not homophobic.  It is difficult to see what else he was alluding to in his final remarks, especially as he has not explained what he actually meant if the comments were not intended to be a reference to their lesbianism.

For further information on discrimination or homophobia please email or telephone 020 7043 5923