A gay couple has suffered a homophobic attack in south London, the second such incident publicised in the space of a week. The two men, aged in their 30s and 40s, were on their way home from UK Black Pride on Saturday, August 19, when they were assaulted at a bus stop.
According to reports, Michael Smith and Nat Asabere were approached by a man they didn’t know at roughly 11pm on Brixton Road. As their bus pulled up, the assailant began to attack them, with Michael suffering “three or four” blows to the face and Nat being punched in the back of the head.
“That’s where I looked down, and I just saw blood all over my T-shirt, and I was thinking ‘where’s this blood coming from?’. I could taste it in my mouth and I could see it on my hands, and when my tongue went over my lip I could just feel this massive split in my lip,” he continued.
Both men were treated in hospital for their injuries, with Michael receiving stitches.
Police are treating the incident as a homophobic attack, and with no arrests made to date, they are appealing to anyone with information to come forward.
Michael mentioned that he is finding it difficult to process what happened, explaining: “I’m having such a rollercoaster of emotions at the moment. When it’s online and someone sends me a message, I’m able to articulate how I’m feeling.
“But when someone asks me how I am in person, a lump gets my throat and that’s when I feel like I’m about to break down. It’s taken a lot out of me.”
Similarly, Nat said that what started out as a terrific day ended in a “horrific experience”.
In the wake of the event, and amid a growing number of anti-LGBTQ+ hate crimes, Michael has started a fundraiser for Stonewall.
“I had to channel all of those emotions and feelings and make it empower me to do something good. That’s why I’ve done a fundraiser and that’s why I decided to talk about it. Because I know that if I didn’t talk about it, I know it will be eating away at me,” he said.
The homophobic attack comes within the same week that two men were stabbed outside Two Brewers, a popular south London LGBTQ+ bar.
The victims, aged in their 20s and 30s, were targeted at the Clapham venue at around 10:15pm on August 13. There, a man approached and stabbed them, before fleeing the scene on foot. Both men were taken to hospital and treated for their injuries before being discharged.
Police are still looking for the suspect, and have released images to help with identifying the attacker.
While authorities are keeping an open mind, they do not believe the two incidents are linked.
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