Baltic Pride knife assault victim recalls ‘pain and confusion’ of homophobic attack

Finnish pastor Patrick Tianen was left with broken face bones

A gay man who was the victim of a “monstrous” knife attack at Baltic Pride has spoken out about the moment he was brutally attacked while giving a speech at the event.

Finnish pastor Patrick Tianen was left with broken bones in his face after being targeted by a man with a knife at Bar X in Tallinn, Estonia, on the final day of the event (11 June). 

The 30-year-old was one of three participants who was attacked, with Estonia’s minister of social protection, Signe Riisalo, condemning it as a “monstrous act”. 

Tianen was taken to hospital for first aid and later discharged, but he remains in pain and will require surgery. A man and a woman, who intervened to protect Tianen, also suffered minor injuries and were later discharged.

“I still struggle to remember the attack as a whole, I only remember moments and fragments here and there,” Tianen told PinkNews.

“I remember the hard pain and the confusion, I just couldn’t understand what happened. I remember waiting for the police and ambulance to arrive, because I knew we all needed help and I longed for someone to take charge of the situation so that we could feel safe.

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“I was worried the perpetrator could break loose and do more damage.” 

After he realised the man was armed with a knife, and that he was bleeding, Tianen said he felt worried: “I wasn’t sure where he had hit me and how many of us were hurt.”

Patrick Tianen remains in pain due to sustaining broken face bones, which he will require surgery to fix.
Patrick Tianen remains in pain due to sustaining broken face bones, which he will require surgery to fix. (Patrick Tianen)

The 30-year-old believes he was targeted due to being a main speaker at the event. 

“It could have been anyone who would have been speaking that day. He clearly asked for the speaker as he entered. It was outspokenly a Pride event for spiritual people, and I believe this combination was too much for him.” 

Inna Toater, head of the proceedings division of Ida-Harju Police Station, told PinkNews that a 25-year-old man has been arrested and criminal proceedings under the section on aggravated breach of public order have begun, for which the law prescribes a fine or imprisonment for up to five years. 

Toater said the suspect is known to police and on 9 May this year, he appeared in a public place with symbols supporting aggression. He was fined in the misdemeanour proceedings. 

This isn’t the first time Tianen has been a victim of homophobia. He has previously suffered “verbal and social” abuse, “mainly within church and the rescue [fire] services” where he works in Finland.  

Tianen said the best way to tackle homophobic hate crimes is with the “correct information”. 

“On the other hand my own experience is that sharing personal stories and describing my life path has reduced prejudice and hard attitudes among many people I have met,” Tianen said.

“It is also crucial that the legislation gives a clear signal this is something strictly judged by society.” 

Anyone who has witnessed or experienced a hate crime is urged to call the police on 101, Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or visit the True Vision website. In an emergency, always dial 999.