‘Enraged’ allies plan powerful show of solidarity with under-attack LGBT+ community in Birmingham

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10/13/2021

There was an outpouring of anger on social media over the weekend when John-Paul Kesseler, 38, posted a photo of himself with blood pouring down his face after he was attacked for holding hands with another man in Birmingham’s Gay Village. It was the latest in a string of attacks around the area. Salman Mirza, 54, was horrified when he heard about what had happened to Kesseler. He is now taking direct action and is staging a protest at 6pm Thursday (14 October) outside the Nightingale Club on Kent Street to show solidarity with queer Birmingham residents. Mirza is not a member of the LGBT+ community himself, but he wanted to do something positive when he read about the attack on John-Paul Kesseler in the Gay Village. “Nothing’s been done. The police are investigating of course, but I was really enraged, and I wanted to show another side of Birmingham – to show that this is unacceptable and that we’re really angry about it,” he told PinkNews. Mirza decided to stage a protest for a number of reasons. Firstly, he has gay friends who live in the city and are now afraid for their safety. Secondly, he was heartened by the solidarity shown by Birmingham’s LGBT+ community when Muslims in the city were facing abuse. He wanted to return the favour. “A number of my friends are LGBT+ and I’m really angry about this. I just spoke to a few of my friends and we decided to organise a protest to say, these are our streets. These people are cowards and bullies.

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