Fears over misogynistic harassment and opposition to LGBTQ+ inclusive curriculum raised on Hate Crime Awareness Week
PUBLISHED: 17:03 14 October 2019 | UPDATED: 10:07 15 October 2019
Misogynists harassing lone mothers and parents opposing an LGBTQ+ inclusive curriculum are issues Islington must address, anti-hate crime campaigners said on Friday.
Some 120 primary school children from across the borough attended Islington Hate Crime Forum's event at Arsenal's Emirates Stadium, where workshops promoted tolerance of people's differences.
Islington North MP Jeremy Corbyn, Arsenal star Rachel Yankey and The Voice UK winner and activist Jermain Jackman all spoke at the event, as part of the Arsenal For Everyone campaign during Hate Crime Awareness Week.
Nick Maxwell, an outreach worker for independent charity Forum+, explained to them what the LGBTQ+ initials stand for: lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex.
In September, a new LGBTQ+ inclusive curriculum will finally make it compulsory for primary school children to learn about different types of families, and for secondary school pupils to be educated on sexual orientation and gender identity.
Some Birmingham parents have been accused of homophobia after protesting outside schools in the city in opposition to the teaching of LGBTQ+ equality - but talking to the Gazette afterwards, Nick said a minority of people in Islington have reservations too.
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He said: "I'm already hearing whispers that there are concerns [about the new curriculum].
"Regardless of how on the surface Islington is seen as accepting and open, there are still individuals in Islington who maintain a level of hate.
"I work with victims of LGBT hate crime - I see that every day in Islington. People ask me: 'Is your job still relevant?' Sadly it still is."
Roger D'Elia, of Islington Safer Neighbourhood Board, which scrutinises the police, praised the "wonderful" event.
But again speaking after the meeting he voiced concerns over groups of men harassing lone women in Prah Road and the surrounding areas, and near the Coronet in Holloway Road.
He said: "Groups of intimidating males have been lingering giving a lot of chat to females passing to such an extent that mothers with children are taking different routes to avoid confrontation because it's frightening." Roger said police are tackling the issues.
Samir Singh, from Arsenal in the Community, told us: "We have a great advantage in that young people listen to us here at Arsenal. Doing stuff [at the Emirates] makes it feel like it's not school work. Taking them away from school makes them see stuff in a different way."