HOMOPHOBIA is rife in Cumbria after figures revealed that it was behind one in five hate crimes recorded in Cumbria last year.

Home Office data shows Cumbria Constabulary recorded 124 homophobic and biphobic hate crimes in the year to March – 25 fewer than the year before.

It means someone's sexual orientation was a motivating factor in 18 per cent of the 681 hate crimes recorded in the county last year.

Charity Galop, which runs an LGBTQ+ hate crime helpline, said the pandemic has fuelled abuse, adding some callers said their attackers believe the outbreak to be a punishment for LGBTQ+ lifestyles.

Tyler Jacoby Miller said: "I've been lucky not to have any directed at me in Windermere, but I know a lot who have had it, friends and family."

Trish Roxy Gosling-Barnes said: "It’s always been there, I lost count of the amount of abuse I got as a teen in Carlisle."

Judith Jane Furmston-Kempsell said: "I can well believe it. I've had wine thrown over me in the street."

Debbie Graham said: "Debbie Graham said: "In Cumbria, it doesn’t surprise me at all."

Steve Wadds said: "One possible reason why the number of incidents decreased in the year to March 2021 was because of lockdown. Crime in general was down significantly in 2020-21. Pubs and bars were closed, football games cancelled and far fewer people were out and about. It could be as simple as that, although there could be other reasons, such as the Alf Garnett generation is dying out faster than it is being replaced?

"In ancient Greece, homosexuality was regarded not only as normal but as desirable. Sexual orientation was regarded as fluid with men moving freely between male and female sexual partners. Female homosexuality was also normal, although more commonly between adult women."

Dagsannr said: "Same-sex attraction is seen in hundreds of other species, humans are the only species that seems to think its unnatural."