Main | Tuesday, November 18, 2014

BRITAIN: LGBT Chorus Takes Over Transit After Violent Attack On Gay Men

Via the Guardian:
A lesbian and gay choir staged a mass singalong on Manchester’s tram network after homophobic thugs attacked two young gay men who were singing songs from the musical Wicked on a night out. The event – entitled Safe to Sing – started with about 80 singers boarding trams in the city centre on Monday evening to belt out tunes including Somewhere, from West Side Story, and Petula Clark’s Downtown – with the main refrain changed to “Canal Street”, the heart of Manchester’s gay village. Volunteers gave out rainbow coloured cupcakes to bemused passengers from a box marked “Cake Not Hate” as the driver explained over the PA what was going on.

Manchester Lesbian & Gay Chorus (MLGC) then got off at Piccadilly Gardens, where 25-year-old Jean-Claude Manseau, known as Jo, and Jake Heaton, 19, were beaten by a gang of men two weeks ago. The choir were joined by their counterparts from the Hallé ensemble, as well as Manchester Community choir, Blackburn People’s choir, the Manchester Bach choir and other groups from the north west. Against the backdrop of the illuminated ferris wheel, several hundred people filled the square with song, ending with a full-blooded rendition of Defying Gravity, Wicked’s theme song.
About the attack:
Jean Claude Manseau and Jake Heaton were reciting tunes from the hit musical on the Metrolink service from Bury to Manchester when a man started hurling anti-gay taunts at them. The pals got off the tram at Market Street and started walking towards Canal Street when the passenger approached them in Piccadilly Gardens. They described how he then called over to 15-strong group, who crowded round the two friends and began attacking them. Jean Claude, known to his friends as Jo, was knocked unconscious and suffered numerous head injuries in the attack. Jake, a 19-year-old customer service adviser, was punched in the back of the head but managed to reach a nearby shop to call for help. A passer-by phoned police, who attended the scene shortly after the incident, at around 1am on Saturday.
See more photos at Twitter.

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