Earlier this year, ‘vile’ homophobic leaflets were dropped through doors in Leicestershire. Police launched a hate crime investigation into the incident and concluded that individual responsible had committed no crime.
Several people complained about the leaflets which claimed homosexuality was a sin, immoral, a pathological condition and the work of “the Devil”.
It also claimed homosexuality was “directly linked to pagan idolatry and its attendant depravity” and that events such as Leicester Pride were “lewd occasions”. (To see the leaflet, click here)
Many residents were disturbed and upset by the leaflet, “Homosexualism – a few points”, which also condemned gay men and lesbians as “needing healing, not approval”.
A spokesman for Leicester LGBT Centre said: “Leicester LGBT Centre is and always has been a supporter of freedom of speech. However this material goes beyond the scope of fair, impartial speech intended to encourage debate. This editorial filth does nothing more than instil a sense of intolerance and fear.”
These words are an example of what a civilised society turns its back on.
“This pamphlet is patently made to inflame irrationality and encourage divisiveness and hatred against the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities.”
Similar incidents involving leaflets have been reported in Cambridge and Brighton. A police spokeswoman said: “It has been logged as a crime and is under investigation. We are liaising with other forces but it is too early to link it directly to the Cambridge and Brighton incidents.”
She said one person who called in to complain said the monk appeared to be with another man, in normal clothing.
The man has appeared in Leicestershire twice in Leicestershire – in Market Harborough earlier in the summer and in Clarendon Park, Leicester this week.
The man, who is thought to be in his 50s and not from Leicestershire, has apparently also visited towns including Brighton, Stoke and Cambridge. Police caught up with him in Clarendon Park after residents called in to complain about the content of his leaflet this week. The force had previously taken legal advice after the man’s appearance in Market Harborough.
A spokeswoman said the force had balanced the man’s right to freedom of speech with potential offences under the Public Order Act. They were advised by bodies including the Crown Prosecution Service that the man was not committing a criminal offence and was entitled to deliver the leaflets.
Paul Fitzgerald, chief executive officer at Leicester LGBT Centre, in Wellington Street, said: “Freedom of speech comes with responsibility and this is clearly behaviour which was intended to incite people.
“I’m pleased to hear that people in Clarendon Park and Market Harborough clearly gave a very robust response and rejected what this man was posting through their doors. I am sure that is not the response he was looking for.”
Residents on the Clarendon Park Online Community Facebook page reported several sightings of a “bald man in a sort of black monk’s robe”. Lorna White posted: “It’s just come through my door! Not impressed.”
Diane Conchie said: “It’s like putting a firework through a door. He doesn’t care about the potential harm he could cause.”
A Leicestershire Police spokeswoman said: “Following an investigation it has been determined that although the leaflet was offensive, no criminal offence had been committed.”
We the undersigned petition the council to We the undersigned believe community cohesion is a key component to ensuring that our vibrant and diverse city of Leicester remains a safe place to live, work and play.
The Leicester Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender communities play their part in the diversity of our city We, therefore, condemn the vile attempts to spread hatred for people who are Lesbian, Gay, Bi-Sexual or Transgender in our city.
When one group in society becomes the target of discrimination or hatred then it is only right that we speak with one voice in challenging those who would seek to cause disruption between our diverse communities.
Together we call on the City Council to do all in its power and work with organisations such as the LGBT Centre on Wellington Street and work through education to defeat the small number of people who would spread this hatred in our city and show that we value and celebrate the diversity of Leicester.
To add your voice, please visit Leicester Council & Democracy page.
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