You are not logged in. Signup to contribute or login! Not recieved your activation email? Click here to send it again.

Picnic Ends in Violence


This article from 'In The Pink' October 1989, highlights the risks taken by 'out' gay people even in the late 1980s. A group of gay people were attacked in broad daylight in St.Phillips Square central Birmingham.


A peaceful picnic organised by PROUD, the Birmingham based lesbian and gay group, outside Birmingham's , on Saturday 14th October, was brought to a violent end. A group of thugs decided that the public display of homosexuality was too much for any 'normal' man to stand. They waded in with their boots and fists scattering the dozen or so picnickers. Fortunately no-one was seriously hurt.

The picnic was part of a day of events billed as a 'Promotion of Homosexuality' and sought to recreate the Gay Days of the mid-seventies when the occupied local parks, picnicked, played instruments, organised street theatre and generally had a good time. The idea being to prove to heterosexuals that we really are everywhere.

The picnic started well, with a suitably camp backdrop provided by several Morris Dance groups performing outside the cathedral. The picnickers decorated the nearby trees with streamers and poetry, while slogans and pink triangles were drawn with chalk on the flagstones.

One of the participants was David Williams (of Straightsville UK fame). "After about an hour of competing with the lively Morris Dancers and startling a few passers-by, a handful of young men who had been lurking nearby came over and hurled abuse and beer at us. We laughed at them as they left, but at about four o'clock they came back with re-enforcements. These men were white, with 'skinhead' clothes and haircuts, and one was armed with a vicious-looking dog. A couple of people were punched, kicked and bitten (by the dog, that is!). We decided to retreat.
The only police we saw were two constables who came earlier on and stayed for about ten minutes. There was no reaction to what happened to us from passers-by, either during or afterwards."

The afternoon's events failed to put a damper on the group, who went on to hold a highly successful disco at Zeberdee's Cafe.

Contributed by: In The Pink, 21

Click here to read the full interview with this contributor