The mural was commissioned by St Helens Council in Liverpool to celebrate Pride Month and the LGBT+ community in Merseyside.
It’s not been a great year for Pride in Liverpool. One of the UK’s most loved cities has seen a spate of anti-LGBTQ+ hate crimes in 2021, with at least 7 people victims to homophobic and transphobic attacks according to Liverpool media.
The artwork – which included a bright-coloured rainbow and the phrase ‘proud to be better than that’ – had only been up for a day in Sherdley Park, before it was spray painted black over the rainbow colours and had ‘gay c***’ spelled out on the wall.
Councillor Jeanie Bell, St Helens Borough Council’s cabinet member for safer, stronger communities, said: “To say we were shocked and disgusted by this would be understating our emotions.
“This is more than just petty vandalism, this is a hate crime and those responsible should recognise that fact.
“Our officers have already removed the homophobic slur and the artist will be out there today to reinstate the artwork.
“A 10 year-old volunteer with the group did much of the work on the rainbow motif for this mural, before it was senselessly defaced.
“It’s been heartening to see people in Liverpool rally around the city’s LGBT+ community in the wake of a despicable series of homophobic attacks, but ultimately distressing that we must still battle with a minority who won’t let others live as they want to out of hatred and ignorance”, the statement continued.
Merseyside’s Police and Crime Commissioner Emily Spurrell recently spoke out, condemning the spate of attacks in the city in a statement saying:
“The attacks in Liverpool city centre fly in the face of [Liverpool’s] values and have understandably sent shockwaves throughout the region”
The statement continued: “That these attacks should occur during Pride Month, a time meant to celebrate our LGBT+ community, is especially upsetting and only serves to underline why Pride events are still needed.
The statement went on to highlight that “everybody is welcome” but “violence, bigotry, and hatred are not.”
In 2021 Manchester’s gay village was also the victim of queerphobic vandalism (below), along with similar incidents in Ireland.