A journalist was the victim of a homophobic attack after a night out in Manchester’s Gay Village on 12 August.
Daniel McLaughlin, who identifies as bisexual and works as a podcast producer for the Manchester Evening News, told the outlet that he was wearing a rainbow badge and standing with his non-binary friend on Sackville Street when the incident took place.
The two were waiting for a taxi when a man, who appeared to be in his early twenties, approached them.
“He was calling us nonces, f******s, perverts – every homophobic slur under the sun. He fixated on calling us names,” the 28-year-old explained, adding that the perpetrator was muttering things under his breath before the attack.
“I started saying ‘we’re not nonces, we’re puffs, there’s a difference’ – to which he became more aggrieved, shouting the same slurs. He was clearly inebriated, clearly angry about something.
“He started to get right up in my face, pushing me, shoving me, grabbing me and kicking me in the legs quite hard, then he went to go towards my friend. He said ‘you are in my space, you are trying to touch me, you queer’.”
McLaughlin said he was then pushed into the side of the taxi while it was still moving, though the two were fortunately able to escape.
He added that what happened was “nothing original” but that the aggression shown by the man, as well as his age, had surprised him.
“It didn’t particularly hurt – he was drunk, they were not focused attacks. But the thing I found the worst was the absolute hatred in his eyes – just the aggression and hatred towards us, McLaughlin continued.
“We hadn’t done anything. We had stood outside. But there was absolute hatred towards us – and the fact this guy was our age, to come up with this vitriol.”
McLaughlin has not reported his ordeal to police as he feels there is “very little they could have done” about it.
He further stated: “It’s something that’s not untypical – and that’s the frightening thing really. I moved to Manchester in 2012 for university and one of the big reasons was the Gay Village. I wasn’t quite out the closet at the time but having this place where I could be myself.
“That’s why so many gay people move to Manchester, but in recent years it’s not felt like a sanctuary. It’s not necessarily aggressive, but I feel that the queer community is being pushed out – it’s very hen party-ish.”
The incident comes just a few weeks ahead of Manchester Pride, which is due to take place from 26 to 29 of August.
Galop is an LGBTQ+ charity there for those who have experienced abuse or have been the victim of a hate crime. It can be contacted Monday to Friday from 10am-4pm on 0207 7042040 or at HateCrime@galop.org.uk. More information is available here.