Words: Emily Maskell; pictures: Pexels
A journalist was the subject of homophobic abuse on Friday (12 August) in Manchester’s Gay Village, a location that prides itself on LGBTQ+ acceptance.
Daniel McLaughlin, a podcast producer based at the Manchester Evening News, was shouted at and shoved into the side of a taxi after a night out although, thankfully, was left without serious injury.
McLaughlin, 28, identifies as bisexual and was wearing a rainbow badge and standing with his non-binary friend on Sackville Street when a man thought to be in his early twenties approached them.
"He was calling us nonces, f******s, perverts - every homophobic slur under the sun. He fixated on calling us names,” McLaughlin told Manchester Evening News.
“[The attacker] started to get right up in my face, pushing me, shoving me, grabbing me and kicking me in the legs quite hard, then he went to go towards my friend,” He continued. “He said 'you are in my space, you are trying to touch me, you queer’."
McLaughlin and his friend were able to get in the taxi and exit the area. McLaughlin hasn't reported the incident to the police as he says there is "very little they could have done".
Michael told the MEN that he was most surprised by the man's young age and the aggression get demonstrated.
"My theory was he had all this pent up aggression, I think he went to the Gay Village looking for a fight, he went there with the purpose of starting trouble. The words he was using were recycled, words he had clearly heard elsewhere - just archaic, older insults.
McLaughlin states the experience has highlighted his concerns about the LGBTQ+ community outside of Canal Street.
"It's something that's not untypical - and that's the frightening thing really," he said. "So many gay people move to Manchester, but in recent years it's not felt like a sanctuary. It's not necessarily aggressive, but I feel that the queer community is being pushed out - it's very hen party-ish."
About the attack, Pat Karney, Manchester council's spokesman, said: "I was horrified to read that this is still taking place on the streets of Manchester. How long do people have to wait before this homophobic hate has to end?"
The homophobic abuse comes ahead of Manchester Pride which takes place on 27-30 August and has scrapped its star-studded live music line-up as part of a shift towards its original grassroots LGBTQ activism.
Other Manchester Pride events including the Gay Village Party, The Candlelit Vigil, the Gay Village Party, Superbia Weekend, Youth Pride MCR, Family Pride MCR and Human Rights Forum will still go ahead this August bank holiday weekend.
The Attitude September/October issue is out now.