A 22-year-old gay man in Preston, Lancashire was left with horrifying injuries after a homophobic beating by a gang of thugs.
Ryan Williams, a hotel receptionist, says he was hit over the head and kicked in the face during the attack outside McDonad’s in the town centre on Saturday (July 13).
In a Facebook post, he hit out at the “vile” attackers but said it would not stop him from being “fabulous.”
Homophobic attack victim: It won’t stop me being fabulous
He wrote: “I never thought in my life that I would get beaten up for being GAY! Wtf has this world actually come too, you’re all vile and disgusting!
“I want people to understand that being gay ISN’T a choice and I can’t help it, I’m sorry that you can’t deal with it but hey ho no need to knock someone out because of it!”
He added: “Stand strong and love yourself, this isn’t gonna stop me from being fabulous! BEING GAY IS OK!”
Speaking to Blog Preston, Williams explained that prior to the incident a group of people “started calling me and my friends gay.”
He explained that the incident escalated and “one of them ran after me and he hit me in the back of the head.”
Police treating attack as a hate crime
Lancashire Police confirmed the incident is being treated as a hate crime.
A Lancashire Police spokesperson said: “We were called around 6.30am on Saturday following reports of an assault in Friargate, Preston.
“A man in his 20s had been punched by another man close to McDonalds. The offender then made off from the scene with two men and a woman.
“The victim was knocked unconscious suffering facial injuries. He later was taken to Royal Preston Hospital for treatment.
“The assault is being investigated as a hate crime and enquiries are on-going.
“Anyone with information can contact police on 101 quoting log 0311 of July 13.”
In June, a report revealed that homophobic and transphobic hate crime has more than doubled in England and Wales in the last four years.
The rate of LGBT+ hate crime, including offences like harassment, assault and stalking, increased by 144 percent between 2014 and 2018.
There were 4,600 LGBT+ hate crimes reported in 2014, but in 2018 that number rose to 11,600.
The area with the largest increase in LGBT+ hate crime was West Yorkshire, with crimes reported to police jumping by 376 percent between 2014 and 2018.