Letter: Commons vote continues to make criminals out of young homosexuals

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The Independent Online
Sir: I doubt if Parliament's decision on the age of consent will have any significant impact on the crime figures. As a probation officer in central London, I am regularly asked to work with young gay men who have fled from friends and family and find themselves isolated and homeless. They run from the consequences that may ensue from the bigotry and intolerance within their own communities.

As a result of their vulnerability on the streets, with ever-decreasing support services available, they often find themselves before the courts for matters that have nothing to do with the Sexual Offences Act. The vote on Monday night offered much more than decriminalisation of the sexuality of young gay men; it offered a chance to undermine the bigotry they fear so much within their own homes.

The age of 18 maintains the inequality, and will continue to legitimise the intolerance. I have no doubt that the young men will continue to run.

Yours sincerely,

MICHAEL E. WALSH

London, N4

22 February

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