A gay journalist has opened up about being attacked by homophobic thugs in Auckland last weekend, during the city’s annual Pride celebrations.
Aziz Al-Sa’afin, a reporter and producer for New Zealand morning talk show The AM Show, told the program he and a friend were attacked while out in Auckland on Saturday night, just as the city was in the middle of celebrating Pride weekend.
He said he and his friend were approached by the “unassuming” attackers while walking down Karangahape Road, or “K-road” in the city’s gay neighbourhood.
“Before I knew it, my friend was on the ground, getting bashed,” he said.
Al-Sa’afin said he was hit in the face by the attackers, and as he fell back he could see his friend “in the foetal position” getting kicked in the stomach and punched in the face.
“They were saying fags, homos, you’re going to hell,” he said.
“I had no idea where I was. I actually thought – and I don’t say this lightly – I thought I was going to die in that moment.”
Al-Sa’afin went on to deliver a defiant message to his attackers.
“I feel sorry for them, for their partners, for their families,” he said.
“You tried to break my spirit but you failed miserably. You made me stronger.”
Al-Sa’afin said the next day he attended the city’s “Big Gay Out” fair day, and had reported the attack to the police.
“Like yesterday, today I wear my bruises with pride. #Pride to not be silenced, abused, or judged for who I am and who I love,” he wrote in an Instagram post.
“You tried to break not only my face, but my heart too, and you failed. Try as you might, my community won’t be broken, like you obviously are. You will be found.
“For those who have been on the opposite end of a fist, a foot, even a knife, you are not alone and you have nothing to be ashamed about.
“Stay proud, stay strong, and always know you are who you are meant to be, no matter what anyone says.”