Veteran gay rights campaigner and former Bermondsey parliamentary candidate Peter Tatchell has branded Southwark Council ‘homophobic’ over its efforts to stop gay cruising in Burgess Park.
As the News has reported, Burgess Park has developed a reputation as hookup area in recent years but park goers have been particularly concerned about sex acts, including those being filmed, taking place in daylight hours.
Complaints to police include cases where parents and children have witnessed sex acts. One distraught mum hurried away her children after stumbling across men having sex at 8am on a Sunday morning. Much of the activity occurs in close proximity to children’s play areas.
Tatchell said the council should have liaised with the LGBT+ community before seeking its year-long injunction, which is mainly in response to repeated all-night raves, BBQs and large gatherings.
He claimed cutting back greenery was ‘eco vandalism’ that would simply make it more likely that any passersby would get an eye-full.
Instead of liaising with local LGBT+ community, @SouthwarkLabour has got a COURT INJUNCTION to stop gay men cruising in #BurgessPark AND are committing eco vandalism by cutting down bushes, to INCREASE the likelihood that members of the public will see sex acts! HOMOPHOBIA! pic.twitter.com/ybikbE0KgH
— Peter Tatchell (@PeterTatchell) October 2, 2020
Judging by the replies online, few agree with him. “I was witness to public sex when I was about eight years old,” said one poster.
“It traumatised me something awful. I could not eat, I could not sleep and I carried a huge weight of shame guilt and confusion.
“It’s deviant and AGAINST THE LAW for good reason.”
I bring my son, niece and nephews to this park, its got an amazing play area so its really popular with families… I don't want them to see ANYONE having sex there.
— Kerry Fitzgerald (@misskerryfitz) October 2, 2020
It's a public park, not a private bedroom. What consenting adults get up to in private is their own business. What they get up to in a park is everybody's business.
— Richard Heathfield (@rjheathfield) October 2, 2020
Peter as a gay woman can I just say your tweet is rediculous! It's not homophobic to stop people from engaging in sexual acts in public or in a space accessible to children (ie a park). It's the law and its correct. The same law applies to those who engage heterosexual acts.
— Hannah Stevenson ???? ?? (@HanaStev) October 2, 2020