The short film entitled I Choose Kindness shows the lived experiences of victims of hate crimes
BY ELLA GAUCI, IMAGE BY MANCHESTER PRIDE
Manchester Pride responded to new statistics about hate crimes in Greater Manchester with a short film entitled I Choose Kindness posted on 20 October. In the past three years, the area has seen a 69% increase in sexual orientation hate crimes, and an increase in hate crimes against trans people by 115%.
This new film showcased the experiences of real-life victims of hate crimes, highlighting the abuse, violence, and intimidation faced by the LGBTQIA community in Manchester. The I Choose Kindness campaign was launched in 2022, and this new film shows the importance of choosing compassion in a climate where hate is at an all-time high.
Mark Fletcher, CEO of Manchester Pride, told DIVA that the current transphobia displayed in UK politics could have contributed to the rise in these statistics. “While multiple factors contribute to this unsettling trend, the public stances of those in positions of power can significantly influence societal attitudes,” he explained.
He continued: “The recent comments from Rishi Sunak on 4 October, for example, oversimplified and undermined trans identities, after he stated that it was ‘common sense’ that a ‘man is a man and a woman is a woman’. When a prominent figure like the Prime Minister makes such bold statements, it can lead to increased misunderstanding and animosity towards the LGBTQIA community.”
“It’s important for those in positions of power to actively combat these trends, not exacerbate them. We must work towards fostering a society where all members of the community can feel safe and accepted.”
The new film and campaign I Choose Kindness is hoping to encourage people to report hate crimes, stand up for the LGBTQIA community, and choose kindness rather than hate. Greater Manchester Mayor, Andy Burnham, gave his support to the campaign and pledged his commitment to aiding the project.
Another aim of the project is to break down misconceptions about what a hate crime actually entails. “A common misconception about hate crimes is that they are only physical, ignoring that they can be verbal abuse, online harassment, discrimination or vandalism,” Fletcher explained. “There’s also a perception that hate crimes are rare or isolated incidents, when they’re commonly not reported.”
Alongside supporting the LGBTQIA community at Pride events, Manchester Pride is urging allies to support the queer community by supporting local LGBTQIA businesses, creating safe spaces, and staying informed.
“The most important of all is to be an ally. Stand against prejudice and challenge any homophobic or transphobic remarks or actions,” Fletcher said.
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