Content Warning: Contains descriptions of violence.
In the early hours of Sunday, January 22, David Browne, a gay man was attacked and robbed on Bachelors Walk, in the centre of Dublin.
Taking to Instagram to share his experience, David explained he was assaulted by a group of six adult males, who took his phone and threatened to stab him. He was left with a broken jaw and had to undergo emergency surgery at St James’ Hospital on Monday, but it will take six to eight weeks for him to fully recover.
After the assault, David went straight to the nearby Pearse Street Garda Station. He is now working with authorities to find his assailants and ensure that they’re brought to justice.
With similar incidents becoming more frequent in recent times, many have raised concerns over the safety of the streets in Dublin, feeling that threats of violence are increasing. This is particularly true for queer people, as evidenced by the escalation of attacks against members of the community over the last year. Last April, another gay man was attacked while out in the city centre of Dublin.
Many queer people have been vocal about how they feel that they have to implement strategies to protect themselves when out in the city, as the fear of becoming a target is ever-present. This sentiment was also echoed by the words shared by David on his Instagram post.
“Dublin is not safe.” he shared in a post on social media, in which he detailed the assault. “Don’t let your friends be alone at night and always travel in groups to your next destination.”
Speaking to GCN, he shared how he feels walking the streets of the Irish capital as a queer person. “I am constantly confronted by my lifelong fear of being discriminated against due to my sexuality. Something that I have learned to conceal very well over the years in moments that I feel threatened.” he wrote.
“Like a switch, I can lower my voice, take out my earrings, alter my walk, gesticulate less. I wear more quiet clothes in public. I walk fast with my head down.” he added. “I wondered as I was on the ground if I had done a good enough job at pretending, or if my outfit was too telling and their blind hatred for me would push them to kill me.”
He concluded, “I have spent too many years coding myself to conceal my true self as a survival mechanism… and I know I am not the only person who has done this. Hopefully, someday I can feel safe unashamedly expressing that very minor aspect of who I am in public spaces. I hope for the courage to do that.”
If you have been affected by this story or are looking to reach out to someone for support or advice or just to talk, there are numerous services available for LGBTQ+ people, listed below, and many offer instant messaging support.
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