Two young gay men in England were viciously attacked and robbed with a hammer, fists, and hateful words by a group of other young men recently, leaving them fearful and upset.
Ryan Winnard, 21, told the Manchester Evening News he and his boyfriend, Max Green, 18, were walking and holding hands in Radcliffe Tuesday evening, November 23, when they were jumped by five to six assailants wearing balaclavas. The attack left the two young men questioning whether they will feel confident with public displays of affections.
"I don't think I'll ever, ever walk around Radcliffe again," Winnard told the M.E.N. "I don't think I'll ever be able to hold my partner's hand in the street again."
Winnard said he and Green were walking down Coronation Road having just visited his boyfriend's grandparents just before 8:30 p.m. when they "could hear a group of lads" who began menacing the pair.
"We were holding hands and they started shouting over at us calling us f*gg*ts and gay boys," Winnard recalled.
The two young boyfriends tried to avoid a confrontation and kept walking, but the group wouldn't let them leave.
"Before we knew it, there were around five to six lads dressed in balaclavas and gloves running at us," he recalled of the horrifying experience. "They started attacking us, punching and kicking us, and were hitting me in the knees with a hammer."
One of the attackers struck Winnard on the back of his head with a hammer, and then used the hammer again to "smash my knee" before stealing their coat, key, wallet, and bank cards, and even stealing his shoes. Winnard suffered a broken nose and a fractured cheek, while Green suffered a deep abrasion to his head in the attack.
"I'm uploading this post as I'm just totally lost for words on how people think it's okay to target us because we're gay," he posted to Facebook about the attack.
The LGBTQ+ community has suffered a string of attacks recently in England. In July, Aodhan Benson, 24, originally from Belfast, Ireland, but attending Liverpool Hope University, was brutally assaulted by three men as he walked home on Bold Street in the early morning hours last Saturday, July 10. His attackers then quickly fled the scene but were arrested by police days later.
"'F*ggot gay c*nt' was what I heard before four men assaulted me in Liverpool not far from where someone died in a similar attack," Benson posted to his social media.
Local police are aware of and investigating the attack.
"Enquiries established that a group of around five to six people, wearing balaclavas, approached two males before assaulting them and stealing property from them including a phone," a spokesperson said in a statement. "The men were also subject to verbal abuse from the group. No arrests have been made and enquiries are ongoing."
The attack has left both men fearful and upset.
"I should be able to walk around and hold my boyfriend's hand without fear of something like this happening," Winnard said.
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