A gay man in New Zealand says he woke lying in a pool of blood after a violent attack by five homophobic thugs during his city’s Pride Month.
Ray Gardiner lives in Auckland and performs as drag queen Kourtney Khaos. He recounted the horrific attack in the early hours of Saturday in a Facebook post and to NZ outlet Stuff.
Gardiner and his partner Tyler were out celebrating the last weekend of Auckland’s Pride Month when they were assaulted in the CBD.
In a side street, the five men pulled up in a car and yelled homophobic slurs at the couple.
“When my partner asked them to please leave us alone, all of them got out of the car and went for him,” he said.
“[They were] swearing and threatening him. One tried to hit him and I screamed at them to get away from him, knowing it would draw the attention to me.”
He said one of the men hit him and he dropped to the ground, grazing his leg.
“Then all five of them kicked and punched me constantly. They also stomped on my ribs and head even after I became unconscious,” he said.
Gardiner said he could hear his partner Tyler begging the attackers to stop.
“I woke up in a puddle of my own blood surrounded by police and ambo officers and my partner crying,” he said.
“I instantly screamed in pain, [I’ve] never been in so much pain in my life.”
Gardiner thanked the residents of nearby apartments for intervening, saying they “may have saved my life.”
He said he wanted to raise awareness of the continuing scourge of anti-gay violence.
“It’s 2021, why are LGBTQI+ people still getting harassed for being who they are?” he wrote.
Police are investigating homophobic attack on gay couple
Tyler Vodanovich-Trott, Gardiner’s partner, told Stuff.co.nz the violent assault “disgusted” him.
“To hurt us just because we are gay and in such a violent way is disgusting,” he said.
The incident occurred during Auckland’s annual Pride Month.
Vodanovich-Trott said it proved there are still people who “have hatred and misunderstanding in their hearts and do horrible things like this”.
Detective Senior Sergeant Scott Armstrong, of the Auckland city crime squad, told Stuff police were investigating the assault.
“Our inquiries remain ongoing at this point. [Part] of this involves analysing security camera footage from the area,” he said.
“Police would like to reassure the community we are taking this incident seriously and we do not tolerate this sort of act.”
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