France: Gay man beaten in latest 'homophobic' attack

22/04/2013
Submitted by ILGA-Europe

Reposted from The Local: http://www.thelocal.fr/page/view/gay-couple-beaten-in-latest-homophobic-attack#.UXUTpMpv5OR

A gay man was beaten unconscious by thugs at the weekend in the latest apparent homophobic attack in France. The assault comes amid mounting tensions and daily protests ahead of a crucial government vote that would legalize gay marriage in France.

A gay couple were attacked as they left a night club in the Mediterranean city of Nice at the weekend in the latest apparent homophobic attack in France.

Raphaël Leclerc was punched and kicked after being jumped by three men when they left a club at around 5am on Saturday.

The incident comes just two weeks after Wilfred de Bruijn was savagely beaten in the 19th arrondissement of Paris, earlier this month after he and his boyfriend were attacked in the street.

Last week, amid increased tensions over France’s divisive gay marriage bill that is set to be passed into law on Tuesday, there were attacks on gay bars in the northern city of Lille and Bordeaux in the south west.

Gay rights groups have told The Local they have recorded a 30 percent rise in homophobic incidents in recent months, which they blame on the continued opposition to the gay marriage bill.

Just like De Bruijn, Leclerc posted the picture of his battered face on Facebook to try and raise awareness of homophobia.

“I left the nightclub with my boyfriend at around 5.35am on Saturday. We were not kissing and we were not holding hands,” explained the 24-year-old cabaret dancer. “A couple of minutes later there were three , who were shouting "hey gays" at us, and then they ran at us.”

The victim was then asked by his aggressors if he was French or Chechen. He replied French before being set upon. He was punched and kicked until he lost consciousness.

The Secretary General of the LGBT Centre for Côte d’Azur Jean-Marie Pottier said: “In this story, homophobia may not have been the origin of the violence but it played its part.”

With further anti-gay marriage protests planned in the coming days and weeks tensions around the issue are unlikely to fall in the coming weeks.

The recent homophobic attacks have been condemned by the leaders of Manif pour Tous, the main campaign group opposed to the proposed law.

Recent polls suggest a majority of French people are in favour of legalising gay marriage. With the key vote set to pass through the National Assembly on Tuesday the first gay marriages are set to be celebrated in France in just a matter of weeks.


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