Homophobia still rife

Times have changed over the 30 odd years since the RUC interrogated Jeff Dudgeon for sexual activities and he took on the State over gay rights. Save Ulster from Sodomy has been in retreat but is far from vanquished. This latest report published by the Rainbow Project sheds light on what is less and less an underworld but is still a prime target for the endemic thuggery that still blights so many lives. To what extent does coming out increase risk of attack? As the report has PSNI backing, I hope it will prompt vigorous and imaginative PSNI action, supported on the ground. Sullen minimum compliance with rights laws is not enough. In the recent spats Iris Robinson ( with Peter standing a careful pace behind her) came off worse. So the lesson is : keep up the pressure. With the weight of the law behind it and a fair amount of cross community support, this is one area where advance may be easier than in the brutal manifestations of sectarianism.

Nearly 40 per cent of lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) people living in the North have been the victim of homophobic hate crimes during the last three years

The report is part of a campaign and it would be good to know more details of gay, lesbian and bisexual harassment and worse. The Tele reports the headline findings

* 39% of LGB people are worried about being a victim of crime
* 39% alter their behaviour to avoid others knowing they are not heterosexual
* 21% of gay and bisexual males, and 18% of females have suffered homophobic attacks in the last three years
* 64% of homophobic incidents go unreported
* Over half of LGB people believe the police are professional and helpful, but 21% have experienced problems with police.

Former BBC journalist and manager in Belfast, Manchester and London, Editor Spolight; Political Editor BBC NI; Current Affairs Commissioning editor BBC Radio 4; Editor Political and Parliamentary Programmes, BBC Westminster; former London Editor Belfast Telegraph. Hon Senior Research Fellow, The Constitution Unit, Univ Coll. London