Police launch appeal after man knocked unconscious for ‘daring to challenge homophobic slurs’

A man in a blue dress shirt and grey trousers

Police are investigating after a man was knocked unconscious for challenging another man’s homophobic remarks.

The victim was walking through York railway station when a throng of men targeted him in the concourse, British Transport Police (BTP) said.

One of the men lobbed vile homophobic insults at the victim before striking him at around 8:30pm on 9 October. 

“The victim challenged the man,” a police spokesperson told The York Press, “who responded by punching the victim in the face, causing him to lose consciousness and hit his head on the floor as he hell.

“The man then left the station while the other members of his group boarded the train.”

British Transport Police released surveillance footage on Wednesday (17 November) of a man they would like to speak to in connection with the incident. He is pictured wearing a light blue dress shirt and grey trousers.

Members of the public who recognise the man, or have any information concerning the incident, are encouraged to contact the police by texting 61016 or calling 0800 40 50 40 quoting reference 2100075749.

To remain anonymous, please contact the independent charity Crimestoppers 0800 555 111.

It’s the latest example of a jarring wave of hate crimes that has swept Britain in recent years.

In the last six years, the number of homophobic hate crimes in the nation has tripled. Transphobic hate crime reports have quadrupled over the last six years.

Overall, according to data obtained by Vice World News, there was a 210 per cent surge in anti-LGBT+ hate crime from 2014 to 2021.

There were 6,363 reports of hate crimes based on sexual orientation in 2014-15, the year marriage equality became a reality in Britain, compared to 19,679 in 2020-21 – a 210 per cent surge.

Only 10 of Britain’s 45 territorial law enforcement agencies recorded a decrease in hate crime. The vast majority had seen a year-on-year surge in reports since 2014.

But considering that 90 per cent of hate crimes against LGBT+ people go unreported, per government figures, such figures capture just a small extent of the anti-queer hostility gripping Britain.