A string of violent homophobic attacks continues to spread across the United Kingdom. In the latest homophobic incident, a Birmingham man was glassed with a wine bottle on his head and struck with an iron bar for holding hands with another man on Sunday night.
Warning: This story has details and visuals of homophobic attacks and might be distressing to some readers.For 24 hour crisis support and suicide prevention call Lifeline on 13 11 14. For Australia-wide LGBTQI peer support call QLife on 1800 184 527 or webchat.
The victim, John Paul Kesseler (38), was returning to his accommodation after a night out in Birmingham with a friend. He was left with blood streaming down his face in wake of a sickening assault in the early hours of October 10.
Following the violent attack, Birmingham Blaze, an LGBTQ+ friendly football club, confirmed Kesseler was a member of the club.
We at Birmingham Blaze support JP with any direction he takes with this and wishes a speedy recovery! There is a reason why teams like us exist and places like the Birmingham scene is still required today. (2/3)
— Birmingham Blaze FC (@blazefc) October 11, 2021
Police Investigating Incident As Hate Crime
Recalling the events of October 10, Kesseler told Birmingham Live that “there was a bloke standing outside his car and he noticed us. He said we shouldn’t be holding hands and I said: ‘What’s the problem?’
“He started getting aggressive and reached into his car for an empty wine bottle. I wasn’t really thinking we were in any danger, so wasn’t paying any attention and thought: ‘Let’s walk away’.
“I didn’t notice him coming and the next thing I knew, I felt bashed round my head. I felt I was bleeding; I could feel blood dripping down my clothes. I was a bit dazed.”
“I immediately called the police, and the bloke went into his car and grabbed a pole. He started coming at me with this pole. I put up my arm up to block him and the pole hit my arm.”
Hate crime and keeping people safe in our cities at night are top priorities for us. Everyone should feel safe and comfortable to be who they are- we will not tolerate people being targeted in this way.
More here ⬇️ https://t.co/NK3pgcYAYt
— West Midlands Police (@WMPolice) October 11, 2021
“We understand that experiencing a hate crime is extremely distressing and upsetting and we want to reassure anyone who is targeted that we will listen, their report will be treated with sensitivity, and we will take action.”
The statement went on to add that police were in the process of reviewing CCTV footage from the area.
Rise In Homophobic And Transphobic Attacks
In August of this year, police arrested a man suspected of a violent homophobic attack in the Birmingham gay village after two gay men had homophobic slurs hurled at them, before being assaulted with bottles. That same month, a 50-year-old man was murdered at a well-known cruising spot in Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park in London’s East End.
In 2020, the terror attack in which three gay friends were stabbed to death in Reading, a town around 40 miles from London, sent shockwaves throughout the LGBTQI community in the UK.
According to VICE News, who obtained figures through freedom of information requests made to police forces across the UK, homophobic and transphobic hate crimes in the UK have increased dramatically in recent years.
The new data shows there were 6,363 reports of hate crimes based on sexual orientation in 2014-15, the year same-sex weddings became legal in Great Britain, compared to 19,679 in 2020-21. For reports of transphobic hate crimes, there were 598 in 2014-15 and 2,588 in 2020-21.
If you feel distressed reading the story, you can reach out to support services.
For 24 hour crisis support and suicide prevention call Lifeline on 13 11 14
For Australia-wide LGBTQI peer support call QLife on 1800 184 527 or webchat.