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Olly

June 1999

Hi again people. Sorry I didn't write last month, I was just kind of busy what with GCSEs (exams...) and stuff I just didn't get around to it, but you'll be pleased to know that I felt suitably guilty! Anyway, this month I want to update all you Americans on what's been happening here in sunny Britain.

April 30th 1999, a Friday evening, at 6:37 a home made nail and glass bomb exploded in a popular gay bar in Old Compton Street, Soho, London. This is a place where gay people can go to be openly gay without fear of attack, without fear of harassment, a place where you can go with your partner holding hands or even kissing--something very rarely seen anywhere else. This was a place...

It's one of those things that "you always remember where you were" when it happens. I was at the house of one of my closest friends, I came downstairs and another friend says to me: "there's been another bomb." For some reason the whole anger of the situation didn't sink in. It was expected that gay people would be next in the pipeline, black people and Asian people had already been targeted, but all the other bombs had been on a Saturday, people planned to avoid the area on the Saturday, the day after.

The full shock hit me that night as I lay there crying. It affected me because it was a direct target, not on me, but on people like me. It seemed so unnecessary, I used to think that there was something odd about me until I came to my friends when I realised that I was normal. But the bomb attack reminded me that I wasn't--that I could never be totally assured of my safety. Now no one can be safe, I won't be able to walk down the street holding hands with my boyfriend (if only I had one..) without being approached by some bigot or fascist, or being pointed at by a group of school kids, or worst of all being beaten up or murdered--rare but it happens. This place was supposed to be a haven, a place to act naturally, but now it's shattered.

And who planted the bombs? Well, as soon as they went off, several fascist groups claimed to have committed these horrific crimes. But no, it was one man, working alone who was, just like the school massacres in the US, a mixed up individual who wanted someone to blame.

Of course the biggest irony is that no homosexual people were actually killed. But one pregnant woman was, and how sick is that? One quote from someone in the Guardian newspaper is particularly good, and very worthy of respect: "They will never bomb us back into the closet." And I hope to God that they don't...

Drop me email if you want at super.olly@virgin.net (yep another different email address!) and I promise a reply. And for anyone in Britain, register your support against fascists with Stonewall, 0800 9757800. It's free and doesn't come up on the phone bill or anything.

Strength to you all to be who you are.

Olly


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