Thoughts on Shout Festival!

"Fags!", Bullring, Birmingham, For Thom Docking & Ryan George

I have just returned from the Shout Festival in Birmingham, where I planted individual pansies for those that had experienced abuse in the streets. (images above/below and on the slide show right) In one afternoon I managed to plant seven pansies across Birmingham at various locations across the city, as usual the people I met that told me about their experiences had varied responses to their attacks from mild indifference to severe anxiety. Of course this depended often on the severity of attacks though one thing remains, total and complete bewilderment at the actions of the few that so viscerally affect the gay community.

I also placed 2000 pansies (kindly supplied by the West Midlands Police) along Hurst Street in Birmingham, (slide-show above) in a thin line slicing through weeds and road side verges the pansies where installed with the help of some volunteers, (some members of Pink Shield where amongst the helpers) who kindly braved the wind and rain! Alarmingly some of our party received homophobic and racial abuse whilst planting. As ever I remain perplexed by this behaviour.
"Die Queer! Die Queer! Die Queer! Die Queer! Wyatt Close, Birmingham, For Ben Whitehouse
Today the reality of homophobically motivated attack increases with the disturbing news of yet another homophobically motivated attack in Liverpool and the brutal murder of a young gay man in Puerto Rico, 19-year-old Jorge Steven Lopez Mercado was found decapitated, dismembered and charred on the side of an isolated road in the city of Cayey. The perpetrator who has since confessed has claimed the “Gay-Panic” defence. “Gay -Panic” is a legal term where the defendant claims that he or she has been the object of romantic or sexual advances by the victim. The defendant finds the advances so offensive and frightening that it brings on a psychotic state characterized by unusual violence. This defence has been used as a legitimate legal argument and has had the effect of reducing sentences of perpetrators guilty of homophobically motivated attacks.
"Ginger Faggot!" with thrown brick, Off Bristol Road, Birmingham, For Kai Weston
Mercado's mother Miriam Mercado released the following statement following the harrowing news: “When my son told me he was gay, I told him, ‘Now, I love you more.’ I want to tell the world that hatred is not born with human beings, it is a seed that is planted by adults and is fostered creating a climate of intolerance and violence. We must change our ways and understand that anyone could have been my son. And I want everybody to know that Jorge Steven was a very much loved son.”
"Are you a Boy or a Girl? Are you a Boy or a Girl? Are you a Boy or a Girl?" Tesco, Hurst Street , Birmingham for Kai Weston
In this context the planting on Hurst Street seems all the more relevant as a statement against gay hate crime. My Fight Continues! Special Thanks to Pink Shield, West Midlands Police, British Transport Police, and Singletons Nurseries


  1. What are people so afraid of? Why are they so insecure? Are we all to be the same? The same as the ignorant louts who hurl abuse?

    Great initiative. Keep on keeping on.

  2. The only way this abuse is going to stop is if the straight community (like myself) stand shoulder to shoulder with the gay community and we denounce these bigot's together.And with the increase of the BNP popularity this is going to get worse.. Education and the legal system needs to catch up to, it should not be acceptable for kids to call each other gay as an insult, teachers should challenge this as if they called each other niggers!! Also Section 31 crime & disorder act 1998 allows somebody to be charged with racially aggravated offences, which can add a further two years to the sentence, but not for homophobic-ally aggravated offences, why not ? Hence we need complete equality in the law.. Keep up the great work Paul. Yours humbly, Osman Dualeh...


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