Ryan Kelly, who resides in Douglas, Isle of Man, was victim to a homophobic attack while walking home during a night out with friends. The attack occurred on January 18 but Kelly has chosen to speak up about it now.
As reported by the Isle of Man Examiner, Kelly, who is 26 years-old and openly gay, was attacked by an Irish man in his 50s at St Mary’s Chruch. The attack appeared to be a solo incident, as Kelly doesn’t mention anyone else with the man.
He explained how he had been in the Outback – a bar in Douglas – with friends until he eventually left to head home at 3 am.
While walking, Kelly attempted to find a phone box due to his phone being out of battery. It was at this point that he “bumped into this man who accused me of flirting with him”.
Kelly went on: “I just laughed it off, but he started getting more aggressive about it and said ‘you’re a faggot’. He then grabbed me and punched me.
“I was very aware of blood going down my face, but I couldn’t call the police.
Kelly claimed the attacker was “hammered” during the attack. He managed to run away from the man and reached a taxi before yelling “call the police”. The police arrived soon after and he was taken Noble’s Hospital, where he was treated for a busted lip. The attack has now left him with a scar.
Kelly initially had trouble eating due to the pain but has admitted he was “lucky” not to have had his teeth damaged.
In the aftermath of the attack and speaking up about it, Kelly has said: “I try to put on a brave face. It really scares me that someone is walking out there doing that kind of damage.”
Kelly had reported the incident to police but has since dropped his complaint, claiming that the lack of CCTV footage would make it impossible to file charges against his attacker.
The UK Home Office released figures last year which revealed there was a 25 per cent rise in hate crimes against people based on their sexual orientation between April 2018 and March 2019.
As well as that, hate crimes against transgender people saw a surge of 37 per cent in that same timeframe.
Incidents similar to the one against Kelly have been in both countries that the Isle of Man sits between, the United Kingdom and Ireland. These include the homophobic stabbing against a gay couple in Newbridge, County Kildare, and the attack on the Irish author Gavin McCrea. A same-sex couple was also attacked on a London bus last year.
Despite this, Kelly has said that the Isle of Man homophobic attack against him “is not a true representation of the island”, citing the upcoming Isle of Pride festival as an example of the Isle of Man’s attitude towards the LGBT+ community.
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