Gay social media influencer left bruised, battered and ‘completely numb’ after vicious attack

A 43-year-old gay man who was attacked in Cork, Ireland, has been left “numb” by the altercation, which was allegedly homophobic in nature. 

Hair salon owner and influencer David Babington, known as Material Boy on Instagram, took to social media to share the horrific story with his 14,000-plus followers. 

The men’s fashion expert’s face has been left bruised and battered, with a swollen black eye, following the ordeal. 

Acccording to the Irish Examiner, the influencer said that the incident took place after he left his friends and made his way to the Imperial Hotel.

He recalled passing a pub when, he said, when a man in his 40s shouted homophobic slurs at him before engaging in an altercation.

Both men were detained in a Cork city garda (police) station overnight.

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“I feel completely numb. Besides the physical pain, [there’s] the emotional pain. I can’t get my mind around this, that something like this would happen to me again,” Babington told his followers.

“It’s not safe to be gay. Clearly I’m horrified.”

He added that this is something that was expected years ago but not in Ireland in 2023. 

“To be a 43-year-old man and have to face this… to be gay-bashed in Cork city… is something I had never anticipated would have happened to me again,”  he said.

He went on to say that he had been contacted by “almost every radio station in Ireland” as well as several newspapers but feels “too raw and vulnerable” to speak to the media about the incident. 

The most violent year for LGBTQ+ people

Babington’s experience comes as European LGBTQ+ advocacy group ILGA-Europe’s annual review shows 2022 was the most violent year for LGBTQ+ people in the past decade

Having reported on LGBTQ+ rights for 12 years, ILGA-Europe claimed that last year was the most violent for LGBTQ+ people yet, due to “planned, ferocious attacks” – including mass shootings in Oslo, Norway, and the Slovakian capital of Bratislava – and “rising and widespread hate speech from politicians, religious leaders, right-wing organisations and media pundits”. 

The report highlighted hate speech as a “serious issue” in several European countries, with Austria and France reporting peaks around Pride events.