Today in my hometown, it’s Liverpool Pride – a festival celebrating Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) culture.
It is also a day, for me to remember once more the murder of Michael Causer, a fellow Scouser at the age of just 18-years old. The parents of Michael who was beaten to death in the city, will lead this year’s Pride Parade.
I can remember Micheal’s death in 2008, and the fact that it wasn’t reported greatly within the media, despite this being the murder of a teenager whose family and friends have stated it was because he was gay. They have fort for justice ever since. I originally read Micheal’s story at PinkNews.co.uk
It was a few weeks ago that I watched the short film ‘The Invisible Death of Michael’ at homotopia.tv, which examined the lack of media coverage around the murder of him.
The dignity of Micheal’s parents, Marie and Michael Snr. in their Fight for Justice speaks for itself. They are a credit for all, who have lost someone in such horrific circumstances and somehow have found the strength to carry on.
What disappointed me though with the filmmakers and where I felt an opportunity was missed, and nothing to do with Michael’s parents, is the angle at which the film was pitched.
I believe that the majority of decent people throughout this land like me, are appalled at the death of someone so young and in such a way. It is for this reason, that I am doing my bit in making sure Michael is not forgotten.
homotopia.tv included interviews with both Paul Burston, a journalist and Peter Tatchell, the Human Rights Activist whom I found disingenuous.
Both Paul and Peter made comparisons with Micheal’s death, to that of the deaths of black teenagers and how these where reported more by the media. My first feeling was that, this was not the fault of black people, but those who run our news outlets with their own agendas.
Paul and Peter didn’t blame black people for getting more coverage than the murder of Michael a white gay teenager, but what they did do for me is belittle what these families had gone through and continue to go through, like Michael’s.
Since I started writing myself, as a gay person who is mixed-race (white English and black Caribbean), I have wrote consistently that we have to STOP comparing ‘race with sexuality’ and vice-versa, and deal with them on their own merits. They are different.
The horrific murder of Michael will be very personal and unique to his family, as it will be to all those parents who have lost children at the hands of others.
Paul Burston stated that he wrote to the BBC about the under-reporting of Michael’s death, which was a good thing to do, but then went on to say that imagine if this was the murder of Stephen Lawrence or Damiola Taylor, and reported locally as opposed to nationally. He went further saying… some hate crimes are more ‘media worthy’ than others.
Peter Tatchell commented and compared the attack on Michael to that of the murder of the black teenager Anthony Walker, who was killed in Liverpool also, but with an axe. Again, the under-reporting is clearly down to the news organisations like the BBC.
My point is and my blog is not personally directed at neither Paul or Peter, but that the focus should have been on and always should be is… the lack of media coverage of ‘Michael’s Death’, and that alone.
When we start in-fighting within minorities, highlighting what others have got, we actually miss the point as to what the real issues are.
The murders of Stephen, Damiola and Anthony should have had the coverage they did, nationally and internationally to highlight Britain is not perfect when it comes to tolerance, and that we have much more room for improvement in accepting others for who and what they are.
But, this same coverage ‘should’ have been afforded to the family of Michael, and I doubt many black person would disagree. My view is that, there was just no need to mention the deaths of these black youngsters.
I hope today, that Michael’s parents have some comfort knowing that people out there like me are appalled as to what happened to their son, and are ‘Speaking Out’ for him, and keeping his memory alive.
I am doing my part, however small in highlighting to the media, my family, friends and those who follow my work that Michael Causer should not be forgotten, even now some 3-years since his death.
I hope that all those lost in such dreadful acts, whether gay or black or not as the case may be – that they are Resting in Peace. I too hope that, their families get justice however they see fit.
I am not beyond reproach, and therefore have sent a copy of my blog to both Paul and Peter, with the best of intentions.
Please support The Michael Causer Foundation, set up by his parents at: www.michaelcauserfoundation.org.uk
This has been a ‘View from the Bottom’ where I’ve ‘Spoken Out’ for Michael Causer, Max x
Live Healthy, Laugh Often & Love Yourself!
© Kevin Maxwell Film, Media & Performance 2011 – Published by My Mum.