Gay man left for dead in a pool of his own blood in homophobic gang attack during Pride celebrations

Ray Gardiner Auckland New Zealand Pride assault

A gay man was viciously attacked during a Pride celebration in Auckland, New Zealand which left him “lying in a pool” of his own blood.

Ray Gardiner, who performs as a drag artist Kourtney Khaos, said he went out with his partner to celebrate Pride month in Auckland, but the couple was assaulted in the early hours of Saturday (27 February) morning.

Gardiner told Stuff that he and his partner were walking down a “dark” side street when a group of men in a vehicle started yelling homophobic slurs at them including “f****ts” and “homos”.

When his partner asked the men to leave them along, Gardiner said the men got out of their vehicle and attacked his partner. Then, the men started attacking him, and one man hit him in the face.

“I was in high heels so I crumpled to the ground,” Gardiner said. “All of them started kicking, punching and stomping on me and wouldn’t stop.”

He explained that blood ran into his eyes, and he was unable to breathe properly. Gardiner said the assault only stopped when people who lived in a nearby apartment building came out.

But he said he had passed out before then and woke up “lying in a pool of my own blood”. Gardiner was left with a broken nose and concussion as a result of the assault.

He said he wanted his assault to raise awareness that homophobia isn’t okay. Gardiner said: “I don’t really see why people get the right to punish someone for being who they really are and happy with who they are.”

Max Tweedie, director of Auckland Pride, told Stuff that he found the news of the assault “really distressing”. He said Pride month is a time for the LGBT+ communities to “celebrate” who they are.

“My heart is absolutely breaking over this,” Tweedie said. “We are just trying to be who we are and go about our days.”

Detective senior sergeant Scott Armstrong of the Auckland city crime squad told Stuff that the police were investigating the assault and called on any witnesses to come forward with information they might have.

He also confirmed that police were called just after 4am on Saturday (27 February). Armstrong added: “Police would like to reassure the community that we are taking this incident seriously and we do not tolerate this sort of act.”