Gay Bar Manager Opens Up About Homophobia

A Canterbury gay bar manager says there has been a rise in homophobic incidents in Canterbury.

Tony Butcher, also known as Tony Bee, owns Limes bar and diner, the city’s only gay venue.

The well known figure has run Limes since 2002.

He said: “There are a lot of lovely people in Canterbury, there’s also a massive homophobic situation going on now, it is worse than it was a few years ago.

“We’re not committing a crime, we’re just people, we just like the same sex.”

Inside Limes Bar.

Crime figures from the past five years show that there has been a dramatic rise in hate crime relating to sexual orientation.

The most recent Kent police figures from 2016 show that there were over 130 violent crimes towards people for their sexuality that year alone.

Tony revealed a worrying incident at another bar this year.

He added: “One of our guys who used to be a student was attacked about two months ago as he was walking away from Steinbeck and Shaw.

“Now, you’d consider that to be a safe area, he was walking up the road, and he just beat him to the ground. Why? Because he was gay.” 

Along with his partner, Mr Butcher has owned and run several successful gay clubs in the city.

He has said the local police are doing all they can to help the situation.

They have helped him install CCTV cameras outside and a panic button inside the bar, to help increase safety for pub-goers.

He said: “The police in Canterbury are very good and they’ve got a gay liaison Officer, at Canterbury police station and they will help.”

A photo collage given to the bar after a recent attack where a dead pigeon was thrown into the bar.

Tony, along with Kent police have urged anyone who has faced homophobia in public to make a note of where and when the incident happened, take photos of the attacker if possible and report it to the police on 101.

One of the priorities for Kent police East Division is the community, on the website they write: “We will not tolerate any form of hate crime or anti social behaviour that intimidates or isolates people and which leaves them vulnerable and victimised.”