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"In remembering the case of a Lancashire couple, who recieved an horrific beating, for the way they were dressed and, in which an innocent young woman lost her life, the Alternative & Gothic community puts forward that the definition of hate crimes should expand to protect subcultural people where the law is concerned. Most gothic/subcultural people regularly complain of being harrassed, abused, spat on or attacked for the way they look, having done or said nothing to otherwise provoke this. People who prefer 'darker' fashions; who sport facial piercings, alternative makeup or dyed hair regularly experience being singled out on these grounds, by the less tolerant. When this escalates to physical attack and, in this instance, death of an innocent person, it is clearly unnacceptable. According to the home office, the definitions of 'Hate Crime' include race, religion, gender identity, sexual orientation and disability. We feel this list should also include: "On the basis of personal appearance or subculture"."
The UK Government's response was:
"The Government's current definition of 'hate crime' is as follows: A 'hate incident' is any incident which is perceived by the victim or any other person as being motivated by hate or prejudice.
A 'hate crime' is any incident which contributes to a criminal offence, perceived by the victim or any other person as being motivated by prejudice or hate.
Within this broad definition, legislation focuses on hate crimes on the basis of race, faith, sexual orientation, disability and gender identity - and it is these categories which are currently monitored. We do not plan to extend this to include hatred against people on the basis of their appearance or sub-cultural interests. These are not intrinsic characteristics of a person and could be potentially be very wide ranging, including for example allegiance to football teams - which makes this a very difficult category to legislate for. However, it is important to remember that this is within a legal framework that assumes that all violence is a very serious matter; and in addition, judges have discretion to look at a wide range of mitigating and aggravating factors when they are sentencing - and are likely to view attacks motivated by hatred of this kind as very serious indeed."
Personally, I strongly disagree with the notion that subcultural affiliation is as 'non-intrinsic' as allegiance to a football team. Have you ever tried getting a full sleeve of tattoos removed? Yes, for some people, Goth is a phase. For some, it is a passion. I think mostly it's the patronising attitude that irks me, as though the entire 'Alternative & Gothic' community are a bunch of pre-teens in Halloween make-up. Most of us do not change subcultural allegiance as easily as some people change allegiance between sports teams.
This attitude is reflected in so-called 'middle class media', for example, the Daily Mail. I read the Daily Mail, by the way, and I find it very irritating that, for example, not a single word was printed regarding the infamous emo protest march to, where was it now, ah yes, the Daily Mail offices. Apparently, emos object to having their subculture labelled as a 'cult', but unfortunately in Daily Mail-speak, everything subcultural is labelled a 'cult'.
Remember That Article (yes, That Article with capitals) by Sarah Sands? It was entitled 'Emo Cult Warning For Parents' and whined on about how us Goths and emos (for an article that was supposed to be about emos it certainly had a lot to say about Goths) are depressed and suicidal. As usual. Here are a few quotes for you to roll your eyes at:
"There is a also a term which is new to me and amounts to a much more dangerous teenage cult. The Emos - short for Emotional - regard themselves as a cool, young sub-set of the Goths." Er, they do? Damn, I missed that. And here I thought they were a whole separate subculture with some slight similarities. Shows how much I know. Good thing I don't write for the Daily Mail, eh?
"Many of the alluring women of our time - Nigella Lawson, Debbie Harry, Chrissie Hynde, Sophie Ellis Bextor, Lily Allen - have a touch of the Goth about them." Yes, Nigella Lawson, Lily Allen (the chav idol) and Sophie Ellis Bextor are soooooooo Goth. Somebody shoot me. (Hmm, now was that me showing my suicidal tendencies, or an attack of sarcastic nausea brought on by all this ignorance? Well, dear reader, I leave that for you to decide.)
"But compared to the music, the poetry is positively cheerful. The Gothic bands have names such as Bloody, Dead And Sexy or Colder Than Death." Talk about scaremongering! The band's name is actually Love Is Colder Than Death, which I think you'll agree is far less morbid.
"Although Goths are from the same family tree as punks, they are a lot less fun to be with. While I loved punk for its energy, Goths were too bloodless to lift a finger. One of the most annoying characteristics of teenagers is their refusal to open their curtains. Their world is dark and airless. If this environment is coupled with the psychological traits of self-pity, introspection, self-dramatisation and hormone imbalance, you have a fully-fledged Emo, even without the small T-shirt and black hair. The wondrous thing about being an adult is that you have so much more to worry about that you stop striking poses and get on with it." There is so much wrong with this paragraph that I'm not even sure where to begin. 'Too bloodless to lift a finger'?! Tell that to, for example, Adora BatBrat, or Rogue from the Cruxshadows, who can't seem to sit still.
And the whole 'curtains' thing? What on earth does that have to do with anything? Considering that earlier on in this same article, Ms. Sands was droning on about how Goth is 'depressingly retro' for those who lived through the 80s, surely she should have some small awareness that actually, not all Goths are fifteen years old. Also, where is the logic here? "I never open my curtains - dammit, I must be Goth."
HORMONE IMBALANCE? Oh, go away and worry about your own hormones. And that comment about adulthood? Madam Sands has clearly never been to the Whitby Gothic Weekend, or actually met any Goth who isn't a mallgoth.
"What worries me is that teenagers are less equipped to manage strong emotions and a cult of suicide could have real and horrible consequences. It is irresponsible for the fashion and music cultures to encourage it. If you want retro style, I recommend Ian Dury's song Reasons To Be Cheerful." One - THERE IS NO CULT OF SUICIDE. Two - fashion does not 'encourage' us. We are not sheep. Three - this bit of music recommendation here... see what I mean about patronising?
I can understand to a certain degree the level of misunderstanding in the response from the UK government - they are not journalists. Sarah Sands, on the other hand, should have had some sort of obligation to research both Goth AND emo before she sat down and wrote the above load of utter bollocks. How embarrassing that this ignorant, faintly ridiculous piece of nonsense was published in a national newspaper.
If you think you can bring yourself to read the whole article (which claims, by the way, that emo conversation consists of sighing, wailing and poetry... oh, dear) you can find it here.
Right, sorry about this very long rant about really outdated things. I'm now off to slit my wrists and listen to songs about murder and mutilation. While I'm at it I might write some depressing poetry.
Oh, hold on, I DO write depressing poetry... never mind.