No Place For Hate; Penzance Makes A Stand Against Homophobia
Grow Talk by Sofy Robertson
When Penzance was faced with a spate of homophobic graffiti, they could very easily have cleaned it up and left it at that. The citizens of the town decided that this wasn’t good enough.
It all started with a wall, a rainbow wall to be precise. An LGBTQ+ group of young people went to the local council and were granted permission to paint a rainbow wall at the local recreation ground to symbolise the inclusion of all types of relationships and sexual orientations.
Sadly, within weeks, the wall itself was defaced with homophobic graffiti.
Again, the people of Penzance had a decision on their hands. The easiest and cheapest option would be to leave the graffiti or have it cleaned off and admit defeat. This was not the decision they chose.
Instead, the community stood together to say no to hate. Today, they are holding a ‘No Place for Hate’ festival; a full-day, family friendly occasion. Bands will play, food and drink will be had, faces will be painted and there are rumours of a bouncy castle.
One of the organisers of Free 2 Be Penzance, the group behind the festival, said:
“I am overwhelmed by the support of the community here. It just goes to show that from hate, love CAN shine through and that is our message. We are a group that stands against discrimination across the board. No matter your colour or personal opinions we strive for equality and an inclusive society where no one should be made to feel ashamed to be who they are.” (The Canary)
Free 2 Be Penzance and the festival they are pioneering today are sending a clear message to the town, as well as the wider community. Those with bigoted, homophobic views have been shown to be in the minority and acceptance, rather than rejection, is being championed here.
Exeter has sent a similar message over the past ten years through hosting the Exeter Pride Festival. For one day a year, the city takes on rainbow colours and celebrates our freedom to be lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning.
If you’re in Cornwall today, the festival is being held at Pensans Primary School, Penzance from 12pm-9pm.