Other things Aurora has achieved
Gay asylum seekers
Aurora found that gay asylum seekers with very strong cases for asylum were often deported because they could not use the asylum system properly. More often they simply "disappeared" to live outside the law, at risk of blackmail and criminal activity. Aurora found a way to advertise a specialist help line, to help asylum seekers stay within the system and, where possible, to avoid being deported to torture or death. See our Asylum page.
Some Asian minorities told us they were very worried about ‘honour crimes’ such as forced marriage, or the beating and abusing of gay people to make them heterosexual. They asked us to publicise the government’s Forced Marriage Unit, which deals with all these issues: See our Forced Marriage page, which is also featured on our Faith and BME pages.
Transsexual people were concerned at the dangers of abuse and violence when using public lavatories – and the problem of "Which Loo?" to use. Aurora produced some safety notes that were eventually endorsed by the Metropolitan Police Force. We believe this is the first time that the police had accepted that this problem is a policing issue.
Another problem for transsexual people is that Section 22 of the Gender Recognition Act prevents many from taking a proper role in court cases, either as witnesses or victims. Our MTF and FTM pages now have some advice and partial solutions to this problem.
When the Gay Police Association was first allowed to march in London's Gay Pride, one reactionary organisation, claiming to be Christian, began writing to Chief Constables across England and Wales in protest. It included some really nasty claims about gay people. Many Christian and non-Christian organisations, including Aurora, responded by writing a letter to Chief Constables in England, Wales and Scotland thanking them for allowing officers to march in the parade and expressing their support.
Gay people of faith
The Independent newspaper published a detailed article analysing the rise in incidents against LGBT people where the main motivation was religious belief. These were incidents that had been reported to the Gay Police Association but were not appearing on police statistics. It was accompanied by a small advert headed 'in the name of the father ...'. It was a matter of great concern to gay people of faith that the article met with such protest from other people of faith. Aurora wrote to the police in support of the GPA in bringing attention to this steep rise that was going un-recorded. We included further factual material on the recent rise of such incidents.
Police failing to record HO incidents within the Met
In the meeting on our fifth birthday, we were told of another step forward. We had complained that the Met Police themselves failed to record 'homophobic incidents' and 'homophobic crimes' when they occurred within the police force. They were dealt with very firmly as disciplinary issues, but were not otherwise being recorded. There are believed to be some important patterns in these incidents and without the records we cannot identify or counter them. At our fifth birthday meeting we were given to understand, unofficially, that the Met had just accepted the point and the system is now being changed as we requested.
If something on this page rings a bell with you ...
Aurora has done other things, as documented on its website, and some done without publicity, but we very much need more LGBT people to get involved, to take up their own concerns, and to find ways to make Croydon a safer and a better place.
If you are lesbian, gay, bisexual, a secret cross-dresser, transsexual, intersex person, older gay man/woman, LGBT young person, student or school student; if you're LGBT from any minority or none, if you have anything you think the police should be doing - or if you'd just like to sign on to our e-newsletter, please get in touch.
There are several ways to contact us - you don't need to speak to police officers and you can write in anonymously. See the Contact Us page.