Gay couple subjected to horrific homophobic attack in NI city centre speak out
A Northern Ireland man and his partner who were subjected to a horrific homophobic attack in Londonderry city centre at the weekend have said they feel they have a moral obligation to speak out and pursue justice for the generations coming behind them.
Emmett Doherty (32) and his Liverpudlian partner Luke Bromilow have been left with severe injuries following the assault in the William Street area of the city centre shortly after 1am on Sunday morning.
The couple, who live in Liverpool, had returned for a visit and had gone into the city centre on Saturday to socialise. Afterwards they had gone to get something to eat before heading home, when Emmett said some men arrived and began hurling abuse at a group of women in the same place.
As the abuse continued and fearing for the women’s safety, Emmett related that he told the culprits, ‘Don’t speak to a woman like that’ and then was subjected to a torrent of homophobic slurs and insults as both he and his partner were assaulted.
Emmett and Luke were taken from the scene to hospital and have been treated since for various facial, head and body injuries.
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Emmett, who sustained a broken nose among other injuries in the assault, said: “I’m from Derry. We have lived in Liverpool years, and we come back and forth all the time but we haven’t been back since Christmas this time. We’ve even talked about moving here. That is obviously not going to happen now. We were planning on coming here next year for good. I feel humiliated this happened in my home town, bringing my partner here and this is what happened him. I’m absolutely mortified.
“Luke is absolutely terrified, he wanted to go back early. He won’t leave the house. He is absolutely traumatised. It’s just disgusting.
“I’ve never witnessed anything like this before here. My partner loves it here, it was him pursuing the move here, more so than me. Now he is absolutely traumatised by it. He hasn’t slept, and we’re back and forth to the doctors and the hospital.”
Emmett said he wanted to speak out to highlight what happened and to stand up to homophobia for the next generation of young LGBTQ people.
“I have a moral obligation to the next generation to speak out about this,” he said. “I won’t be silenced and I will fight this. We were attacked down that town. It’s 2020, it’s an absolute disgrace.
“What message does this send to the younger generation? What message to the young 16 year old sitting thinking about coming out? It’s going to push them back; push us back.
“I feel very strongly I have moral obligation to the next generation of gay people to do this, to pursue this.”
Foyle Pride meanwhile have condemned the attack. A spokesperson said: “Foyle Pride would like to hear from anyone in the area who witnessed this vicious attack and may have any information. All information received will be treated with the strictest confidence. We wish them both a speedy recovery from this despicable attack on members of our community!”