After a pair of gay men were brutally attacked while singing tunes from the musical Wicked on public transit near Manchester, England earler this month, LGBT activists and allies hosted a massive singalong on the same tram where the attacks happened less than three weeks ago, reports the Manchester Evening News.
About 300 passengers on board the Manchester Metrolink — including singers from the Manchester Lesbian and Gay Chorus — raised their voices Monday as the event, which began when singers boarded the public tram at St. Peter's Square, took on a life of its own. The Manchester City Council even set up a stage at Piccadilly Gardens for a choir performance at the end of the tram's route.
"It was fantastic," Manchester City Council member Kevin Peel told the Evening News. "There were about 300 people there and there was a really positive vibe, a kind of determination to make sure this kind of thing doesn’t happen again and sending a message to people who have horrible views and attitudes that it isn’t OK."
Jake Heaton and Jean Cleaude Manseau were violently assaulted November 1 by a man who criticized them for singing "Defying Gravity" from the musical Wicked while riding a local public tram. After the two men exited the bus, they were attacked by a total of 15 men, including the initial assailant.
"It was definitely homophobic," said Heaton, 19. "Throughout it all they were hurling abuse at us."
But over the weekend, Manchester's LGBT and allied community turned out in force to reclaim the public trams, organizing under the hashtag #SafeToSing. Members of the local gay and lesbian chorus were joined by choirs from throughout the region and by local well-wishers, who sang along on board the tram and in a massive demonstration at Picadilly Gardens.
BuzzFeed reports that no arrests have yet been made in the attack, though police are pursuing as a possible hate crime.
Watch as a community rises in Wicked song against homophobia: