Mayor tied to tree in supposed homophobic attack

A 67 year-old small-town Mayor has been hospitalised after being the victim of a brutal attack, which may have been a homophobic hate crime.

Police vehicle, indicative of police en route to arrest homophobic attackers
Image: Guillaume Vachey from Chalon sur Saone, France, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

Content Warning: Contains descriptions of violence and homophobia.

The potentially homophobic attack took place in Toulouse, France, where the 67-year-old man, a Mayor in the Aveyron department in the south of France was left bloodied, beaten, and tied to a tree at midnight on September 11.

The unnamed man, who is reportedly the Mayor, was approached by a pair of thugs as he was leaving his car on Chemin de la Loge, at the Casino Barrière.

According to La Depeche, this area is a known meeting spot for queer men, thus prompting concerns that the attack is of a homophobic nature.

The man was stripped of his clothes, kicked, punched, and beaten before being tied to a tree. His keys were snatched from him and the attackers made their getaway in his car, which was abandoned and later found by police nearby.

Once the offenders fled the scene, the man was able to attract the attention of police officers who found him with a bloodied face and took him to the hospital for immediate medical attention.

As of September 13, the man remains in Purpan Hôspital in northwest Toulouse with a broken nose and multiple facial fractures, although his life is not in danger. His injuries are still too severe for him to make an official statement to authorities about the events that unfolded.

Toulouse prosecutor Samuel Vuelta-Simon told La Depeche that “The wounds testify to the nature of the attack”, but he added that “The reasons for the aggression have yet to be verified”.

While it cannot yet be confirmed that the attack on the Mayor was homophobic in nature, this is not the first attack of its kind in this area.

In May 2018, a 59-year-old man was reportedly attacked by a group of openly homophobic people in the same spot. The victim was stabbed and, as in the recent incident, his car was stolen.

A French group advocating for LGBTQ+ rights, SOS Homophobie, Tweeted about the chilling attack, saying it is a “shame” and that they “condemn this despicable aggression”.

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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