Here’s yet another thing to love about Manchester – the UK city is now recording attacks on people from ‘alternative subcultures’ as hate crimes, treating attacks on goths, punks, emos and metalheads in much the same way as those based on race, religion, sexuality, disability and gender identity.
The Daily Telegraph reports that in the city that brought us the Madchester movement, the Greater Manchester police force has recognised that members of the alternative community often come under attack for their appearance. Assistant Chief Constable Garry Shewan said, “We are able to officially recognise that people who wish to express their alternative subculture identity freely should not have to tolerate hate crime – something that many people have to endure on a daily basis.”
Laws in Britain call for offenders convicted of committing hate crimes to receive tougher sentencing and allow police officers to give more support to victims.
The change has been brought about by lobbying from the Sophie Lancaster Foundation, a charity set up in memory of a 20-year-old who was murdered in 2007 for looking goth. Lancaster, 20, was beaten to death after she and her boyfriend were attacked in a Manchester park by 5 teenage boys. The foundation has received support from artists like Courtney Love and Gary Numan.