UPDATE 1 OCT 3:00pm – Activists in London are planning a rally in response to the recent homophobic attacks in that city.
It’s scheduled for Wednesday, Oct 7 at 6pm at the bandshell in Victoria Park. Facebook page here.
29 SEP LONDON – Less than two weeks after Brandon Wright was savagely attacked by a man who wanted to punish him for being gay, there is another reported assault against gay men in that same city, London Ontario.
At about 3:20 am the morning of Sep 27, Erik Rozenski and his boyfriend were holding hands as they walked home after a night out at the local gaybar. They were celebrating Rozenski’s 27th birthday.
Rozenski says he heard a man’s voice say, “Look those faggots are holding hands, they’re probably going to fuck tonight.”
He says two men approached from behind and attacked them.
“I got hit in the side of the head,” says Rozenski. “My boyfriend got hit in the back of the head. I got punched in the face twice. My boyfriend managed to get to the middle of the road and called 911 on his cell phone. I fell to the ground and got kicked in the head twice.”
Rozenski says his boyfriend, who asked not to be named because he is not out to his family, is a type-one diabetic for whom even minor injuries can be very serious. Rozenski says when the men heard his boyfriend talking to 911 they fled.
Rozenski says, aside from the initial epithets, the attackers were silent.
Rozenski and his partner suffered scrapes and bruises in the attack. They were checked out at hospital, Rozenski was treated for hyperventilation and released.
The London Police Service (LPS) reports that officers responded to the incident around 3am. One man was arrested short time later.
Michael Kyle Gordon, 22, of Richmond Hill is charged with assault. Police are still looking for a white male, early 20s, 5’8, short dark hair wearing a black T-shirt.
Rozenski says police should be credited for responding quickly. But he doesn’t feel they are taking the case as seriously as it ought to be taken. He wants to see the case against his attackers prosecuted as a hate crime but he doesn’t think police are very enthusiastic. Rozenski says he’s sure the attackers knew each other and so a second suspect shouldn’t be too difficult for police to identify.
“They looked like they’re friends, they have to know each other,” says Rozenski.
Const Amy Phillipo of the LPS says there is no data available about the number of reported attacks against gay people in London for 2009, so she can’t say if attacks against gay people are on the rise. But, she says, for 2008 there were 12 homophobic incidents against gay people reported to police. She says five of those were assaults.
“It’s difficult to know how often this happens,” she says. “Too many incidents go unreported.”
Rozenski says he’s been yelled at and gotten into fights several times since he’s been in London. He says the area along Richmond St, Richmond Row, is notoriously dangerous for gay men because there are so many drunk university and college students there. He says he usually fights back, is used to fighting back, but he was worried about his boyfriend in this case and wanted to keep the attackers’ attention away from him.
“There’s some Irony here,” says Rozenski. “Jake[Raynard the gay man beaten in the face with a brick on Sep 5], what happened to him in Thunder Bay and [Alex Myros, the man accused of being] Brendan Wright’s attacker is from Thunder Bay and I’m from Thunder Bay.”
For his part, Rozenski says he’s planning to move away from London as soon as he’s done with school.
Anyone with information on this attack or any other is encouraged to call Crime Stoppers in London at 1-800-222-8477.