Gay man attacked for holding hands with another man in latest UK homophobic incident

The victim said passers-by subjected him to homophobic taunts after he was left bleeding on the street.

A close up of a man with stitches in his forehead and marks on his face
Image: John Paul Kesseler

Caution: Contains distressing imagery. In yet another homophobic assault in the UK, a gay man described how he was attacked with a wine bottle and a metal pole, leaving him bleeding in the street.

In a statement to the Birmingham Live news site, John Paul Kesseler said he was assaulted as he was returning to his accommodation after enjoying a night out on Sunday last. His assailant took issue with the fact Kesseler was holding hands with another man.

Kesseler explained how he had left Birmingham’s Gay Village when the incident took place: “I was going to a hotel with a close friend and we were holding hands, walking towards the Pagoda.

“Outside the 24 hours shop, there was a bloke standing outside his car and he noticed us. He said we shouldn’t be holding hands and I said, ‘What’s the problem?’

“He started getting aggressive and reached into his car for an empty wine bottle. I wasn’t really thinking we were in any danger, so wasn’t paying any attention and thought, ‘Let’s walk away’. I didn’t notice him coming and the next thing I knew, I felt bashed round my head.

“I felt I was bleeding, I could feel blood dripping down my clothes. I was a bit dazed. I immediately called the police and the bloke went into his car and grabbed a pole. He started coming at me with this pole. I put up my arm up to block him and the pole hit my arm. After that, he rushed back into his car and drove away.”

In further distressing news, Kesseler went on to share how passers by insulted him rather than assist him as he stood there injured and bleeding – “There were homophobic comments after the attack from people mulling around outside, saying, ‘We do not agree with that LGBTQ stuff.'”

The football club of which Kesseler is a member shared a photo of the assault on social media with the statement, “Homophobic attacks will never be tolerated nor should it happen in the first place. Let’s hope this horrific event starts to put a stop to these attacks happening in Birmingham and anywhere where being LGBTQ+ is an issue.”

This incident bears similarity to another UK assault in Birmingham’s Gay Village in August where a man was arrested after a gay married couple were attacked and beaten with bottles.

Following the attack on Kesseler, the West Midlands Police stated, “We are investigating after a man was assaulted in a homophobic attack in Birmingham in the early hours of yesterday morning (10 October).

“We understand that experiencing a hate crime is extremely distressing and upsetting and we want to reassure anyone who is targeted that we will listen, their report will be treated with sensitivity, and we will take action.”

© 2021 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.

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