On 23rd June 2012, Steven Simpson, a gay autistic student, was verbally abused, stripped, and his body scrawled with offensive slogans. He was then doused in tanning oil and 20-year-old Jordan Sheard set fire to his crotch with a cigarette lighter. The flames engulfed his body, his attackers fleeing as neighbours tried desperately to extinguish the flames. Steven died the next day suffering 60% burns.
Campaigning for lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans* rights.
This is the speech that I gave in the opening plenary of Workers' Liberty's 'Ideas for Freedom' event in 2013 - originally published here.
From the TUC handbook, Autism in the Workplace
In 2013, Labour MP Ian Mearns introduced a Ten-Minute Rule Bill to require the police to maintain a register of hate crimes committed against people with learning difficulties, learning disabilities and autism. During the early months of 2014, this Bill is progressing through its Parliamentary stages.
I wrote this poem in support of Hush Ainebyona. You can read her story and donate to her fundraising appeal here.
My friend Hush is good and kind
And fair and just – and going blind
This poem is about the murder of 18-year-old, gay, autistic student Steven Simpson - and the appalling miscarriage of justice when his killer was prosecuted. You can read a news report giving more information here; and the resolution adopted by TUC Disabled Workers' Conference here. The poem imagines what might happen if the tables were turned on reactionary judges!
I heard the local judge was having a party at his flat
I thought that sounded tasty, I'll have a bit of that
There'll probably be some posh nosh and a bit of legal chat
I hadn't been invited, but who cares about that?
Continuing the performances of material from new book, The 3Rs: Ranting Rhyming Revolting, Janine will appear at Poetry LGBT at Kimos Bar & Restaurant, 184 Stoke Newington High Street, N16 7JD
- at Labour and Revolution, a dayschool hosted by the socialist organisation Workers' Liberty to discuss ideas for the new left movement after Jeremy Corbyn's election
- at the Anatomy Building, University College London, Gower Street WC1E 6XA. Near loads of Tubes - Warren Street, Goodge Street, Euston Square, Euston
The organisers write:
After two years marking the 30th anniversary of the Miners' Strike and the role of lesbians and gay men in supporting it, Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners is bidding a fond farewell.
Join hundreds of supporters for an evening of festivities, including some poems from Janine.
Venue: Amnesty, Shoreditch.