CW: This article contains descriptions and images of violence and details of a homophobic attack.
A same-sex couple were subjected to a torrent of discriminatory slurs and physically assaulted during a vile homophobic attack in Northern Ireland.
Liverpool based couple Emmett Doherty and Luke Bromilow were visiting Derry over the weekend. Around Saturday night and into the early hours of Sunday morning, they were on their way back from socialising with friends in the city centre when they witnessed men hurling abusive language at a group of women.
Fearing for the women’s safety, the couple intervened in the confrontation, as detailed by Emmet. He reportedly told the men, “Don’t speak to a woman like that”. Following this, the couple were subjected to a barrage of homophobic slurs.
The couple were then viciously assaulted and sustained various facial, head and body injuries. Emmet has been treated for a broken nose among other injuries due to the attack. Regarding his partner’s condition, he stated, “Luke is absolutely terrified, he wanted to go back early. He won’t leave the house. He is absolutely traumatised. It’s just disgusting.”
Emmet further shared, “I’m from Derry. We have lived in Liverpool years, and we come back and forth all the time but we haven’t been back since Christmas this time. We’ve even talked about moving here. That is obviously not going to happen now. We were planning on coming here next year for good. I feel humiliated this happened in my home town, bringing my partner here and this is what happened him. I’m absolutely mortified.”
“I’ve never witnessed anything like this before here. My partner loves it here, it was him pursuing the move here, more so than me. Now he is absolutely traumatised by it. He hasn’t slept, and we’re back and forth to the doctors and the hospital,” Emmet continued.
Gavin Boyd from The Rainbow Project shared, “We are so hurt and angry that this couple have experienced this homophobic attack in Derry. Anti-LGBT violence has no place in our society and we will provide whatever support we can to the couple and we would encourage anyone who has information about the attack to raise it directly with the PSNI, or if they do not feel comfortable approaching the PSNI they can contact The Rainbow Project’s Hate Crime Advocate.
“Through the work of activists and civil society groups, Derry has been transformed over the past 20 years but we must all continue to work on building a society based on dignity, equality and respect until attacks like this are a distant memory.”
On Twitter, Foyle Pride have strongly condemned the attack upon the couple. A spokesperson said, “Foyle Pride would like to hear from anyone in the area who witnessed this vicious attack and may have any information. All information received will be treated with the strictest confidence. We wish them both a speedy recovery from this despicable attack on members of our community!”
Foyle Pride Statement on homophobic attack in Derry City Centre Sunday July 26th.
It is with sadness that Foyle Pride once again have to condemn a homophobic attack in Derry City Centre. pic.twitter.com/E00Pu5NspR
— Foyle Pride Festival (@FoylePrideFest) July 28, 2020
After being subjected to this violent homophobic attack in his hometown, Emmet opened up about his experience to address much needed changes which will help towards securing a safer future for LGBT+ people in Northern Ireland. He said. “I have a moral obligation to the next generation to speak out about this. I won’t be silenced and I will fight this. We were attacked down that town. It’s 2020, it’s an absolute disgrace.”
Emmet continued, “What message does this send to the younger generation? What message to the young 16 year-old sitting thinking about coming out? It’s going to push them back; push us back. I feel very strongly I have a moral obligation to the next generation of gay people to do this, to pursue this.”
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