Gay man forced to move from Cornwall after ‘horrific’ homophobic attack: ‘I don’t feel safe’

People wave gay rights' movement rainbow flags during the gay pride rally in Saint Petersburg, on Agust 12, 2017.

A man who was a victim of homophobic attack while on a night out in Cornwall has said he’s been forced to move away in fear of his safety.

The man, who wishes to remain anonymous, was reportedly assaulted and subjected to homophobic verbal abuse in July this year, in the small town of Camborne.

According to the BBC, the homophobic attack took place as the man was leaving a pub with his friends.

He said described the incident as “just horrific” and said his attacker “just kept punching and kicking”.

The devastating event led to the man being hospitalised with his injuries and he has since moved to Birmingham.

“Since that incident happened I really don’t feel safe walking round there [Camborne]. I keep shaking, when I hear a bang I jump, I’m always looking behind me,” he said.

‘Mentally I’m not there; I really suffer’

The man said a lot of the injuries he suffered following the homophobic attack were “on the inside and not the outside” – “mentally I’m not there; I really suffer.”

“Why does this happen? At the end of the day love is love, if it’s a man and a man, a woman and a woman, a man and a woman, it doesn’t change who you are,” he added.

Devon and Cornwall Police figures show that in the year to August anti-LGBTQ+ hate crimes had increased month on month in comparison to 2021.

This is in line with national numbers of homophobic hate crimes in the UK. Recent police figures have shown that reports of homophobic hate crimes in the UK have more than doubled in five years, shooting from 10,003 in 2016-17 to 26,824 in 2021-22.

Superintendent Antony Hart promised the force’s officers would do their “very best to bring people to justice” and stressed that hate crimes would “not be tolerated”.

He noted that hate crime is usually under reported and said an increase in reporting is a “cautiously positive thing”. 

‘It shouldn’t happen anywhere’

Meanwhile, chief executive of Cornwall Pride, Matthew Kenworthy Gomes, described the increase in the county as “concerning”.

“Hate crime is rising and that conversation of division and because of all these challenges around us that division is growing,” he told the BBC.

Gomes, who came out while at secondary school, said he suffered verbal abuse and was beaten up “more than a couple of times” due to being gay.

He said the July attack “should never have happened in Camborne, it shouldn’t happen anywhere in the South West”.

In September Ben Wearing – a victim of a homophobic attach in Falmouth, Cornwall – told PinkNews he felt Cornwall is “so far behind with things” after he was left with physical and mental scars from the incident.