A man from Aberdeen courageously shared his experience of a homophobic attack after having been brutally assaulted for being gay.
Former Cults Academy student Alexander Lees posted two pictures on his Facebook profile along with a status recounting the homophobic attack, which has now gone viral.
Alexander was violently attacked by two guys in Aberdeen’s Nox nightclub, just after midnight, suffering a broken nose, concussion and psychological trauma, shortly after arriving to the venue with friends.
Police Scotland has now confirmed that two men were charged today in relation to the alleged assault in Aberdeen. “The incident happened in the Justice Mill area of the city last night. The 18-year-old men have been reported to the Procurator Fiscal,” read a statement by the police.
Recounting what happened, Alexander told KaleidoScot: “I went out with two friends to chill out after work at the Nox nightclub around 11:30pm. We were just enjoying our time together, I went on to dance with them on the dance floor and wasn’t drinking. Suddenly two guys came right next and started hurling verbal abuse, calling me ‘faggot’, ‘gay’, and various adjectives.
“I’ve got no idea why they started targeting me with abuse, is it the way I was dressed or dancing? Obviously they somehow picked up that I was gay. I wasn’t doing anything offensive or being outrageous. I was just dancing with my friends, being myself.”
“My friends asked them to stop, but one of them was particularly trying to catch my gaze, staring at me very menacing. I did my best not to look their way and move away, and even my friends moved between the two guys and me. But suddenly one of them just rushed and punched me extremely hard in my face.
“I was in a total shock and pain with blood running all over my face and body. I told them, ‘right, I am not having this, I am going to contact the Police now.’
“At this point the second guy grabbed the bottom of my shirt, looking at me very menacingly as well, as if he was about to attack me too.
“I then ran off from the dance floor, trying to speak to one of the barman, asking for help and to speak to the manager. But they didn’t pay much attention to me at first, perhaps they just assumed I was drunk.
“It took my friend, who knew one of the bar staff, to scream of the top of her voice, that we need to see a manager for them to pay attention. The guy who punched me was then taken by a security guide and I was lead to a stairwell, with the bouncers and contacted the police.
“They then told they’ve let the guys go, I asked: ‘Why have you done that? Surely you should have tried to keep him until the police arrives?’, to which they responded: ‘We don’t know what’s going, we are not sure.’
“I was completely shocked at how this was handled and the protocol,” said Alexander.
“The manager came said they probably have the guys on CCTV, but he didn’t offer any more help, or even a bucket with ice/cold water. I was so very upset.
“Then the police came and my friends and I gave them statements. I then went to A&E who said I was suffering from concussion and a broken nose. I am now on painkillers and was told I may have to go back for surgery. I still suffering from pain and have trouble breathing. I am in a state of shock.”
“This never happened to me before, but I have received previously homophobic abuse in the Nox club. Usually I am quite good at rising above this kind of behaviour, but this… I am so upset.”
KaleidoScot has put Alexander in touch with Gay Men’s Health in order for him to receive counselling. Alexander said: “I was kind of sceptical about speaking out openly about what happened, but I think its important not to keep quiet. We need to tackle this kind of hate and prejudice and this is why I wanted to share what has happened to me”
In his status he wrote: “On the left is a picture of me this evening: Ready to go out and enjoy myself with my friends following a stressful-enough day.
“On the right is just hours later from the result of an unprovoked homophobic attack from two males – something I’d never throw around is the likes of using racism and homophobia for defences, however before getting my nose broken and being called a ‘faggot’ and several other ridiculing statements despite constant feigned ignorance, I believe this to be justified.
“I for one, would not have been vocal about this towards this for my own sake, but I feel as though this is completely above me – this is a far more serious matter for everyone to adhere to.
“To some, you might suggest I not try and stick out therefore I won’t be ‘asking for it’ as they say – and as someone who has battled severe depression and social anxiety/agoraphobia to get to the place that I want to be in my life, I think ‘being myself’ is a nice enough reward from this.
“What most people are raised to believe is that we must respect each other despite our personal differences no matter our views and levels of understanding: In reality, the word ‘SOMETIMES’ should be included –
“As that is what I and many other individuals are well aware that this is the true enforced statement. But how will a tolerant society work if it’s merely “SOMETIMES’?
“This is not the first time I’ve been called a ‘faggot’, ‘gay’, ‘homo’, ‘queer’ etc. before however this is the first act of violence that I’ve had inflicted upon myself resulting in a broken nose. And what is that saying about the culprits? More than it is about me, but that’s not going to stop it from happening.
“People should respect one another’s differences, but unfortunately that’s life – Unless things like this is touched upon, how are we to create such tolerance? I’m better than this. Everyone should be better than this.
“Don’t worry for me and my story; Worry for the injustice and oblivion that we as slightly more ‘individual’ people still witness in society every single day.”
Alexander’s facebook post has been now shared hundreds of times and he has received many loving messages of support.
Speaking with KaleidoScot, Maggie Chapman, co-convener of the Scottish Green Party, commented: “This is a sickening assault. Alexander’s bravery should make us all work harder to change our culture. We have come a long way on redressing legal discrimination against LGBTQI people (though we still have further to go). We need to change a culture in which anyone thinks that gay bashing is acceptable. I hope that the perpetrators are identified and dealt with, but I also hope that we make a society in which no one thinks it is appropriate to assault anyone else for being gay.”