Vicious attack in Paris: “This is the face of homophobia”

 
The picture, posted on Facebook, is hard to look at. It shows a young man with two black eyes, a broken front tooth, and blood smeared all over his face and shirt. The caption: “This is the face of homophobia”. Shortly after being assaulted in a Paris street, Wilfred de Bruijn shared his story.
 
According to a 2011 survey, in France, nearly one homosexual in two has been the victim of a homophobic attack, either physical or verbal, and nearly a quarter have been attacked physically at least once.
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“We wondered whether the photo might be too shocking or exhibitionistic. But we told ourselves that, after all, all it showed was the truth”

Wilfred de Bruijn is from the Netherlands. He has been living in Paris since 2003, where he works as a librarian.
 
On Sunday, around 3:30 a.m., my friend Olivier and I were leaving a party in the 19th arondissement. We were walking arm in arm down rue des Ardennes, when we were suddenly attacked. We didn’t see them coming. I don’t remember anything — I woke up in an ambulance, soaked in blood.
 
Olivier, however, did not lose consciousness. He told me he heard someone yelling something like: “Look at these fags!” and that he was hit right in the face. His eyes were covered in blood so he could not see his attackers well, but he thinks there were three or four of them. He could also see me lying on the pavement while my attackers kicked me, hard, in the face.
 
As a result, my lip was torn, a front tooth broken, and I suffered seven skull fractures, especially on the right side of my face, around the eyes and nose. I vomited a lot of blood. I suppose I was lucky: I don’t have any brain or eye damage.
 
“I am overwhelmed by the reactions that my photo has provoked”
 
When we left the hospital, I asked Olivier to take a picture of me. Later, in the afternoon, I got the idea of uploading it to Facebook. We talked about it a lot - we wondered whether it was too shocking or exhibitionistic. But we told ourselves that, after all, all it showed was the truth. Our attack is unfortunately far from being an isolated case.
 
I am overwhelmed by the reactions that my photo has provoked. The mayor of the 19th arrondissement called me, and the police came to my apartment to pick us up and drive us to the station to file a complaint, which we did. I have also received very touching messages from around the world, from Brazil to South Africa…
 
The police are looking for someone who saw the attack and who in fact called the police, in the hopes that they might be able to identify the attackers. They also told us they would analyse surveillance camera footage from the area.
 
“Saturday night, for once, we let our guard down”
 
I had already been verbally attacked in the street, but never physically. Of course, like all my other gay friends, I’m careful — we avoid holding hands in the subway, and we kiss each other on the cheeks, not on the lips. But on Saturday evening, Olivier and I were in the middle of an interesting conversation, we were in a good mood, and for once, we let our guard down.
 
I don’t know, and I will probably never know, if this attack was linked to the tense atmosphere right now in France due to the movement to allow marriage for everyone. But I wouldn’t be surprised. I must admit I am shocked to see how much the situation has degenerated since last summer [Editor’s note: the last incident to date was on Saturday, when anti-gay-marriage activists plastered posters on the walls of a building where right-to-marriage advocates work. And, on Friday, extreme right activists intimidated Erwann Binet, the Social Party MP in charge of organising debates on the government’s proposed same-sex marriage law. Following this, he announced that the debates were cancelled due to security concerns]. We hear horrible things about gay people all the time now. Maybe I was being naïve before, but it now seems to me like homophobia is profoundly rooted in France, even though the French talk about equality all the time. It’s profoundly paradoxical.
 

Comments

Vicious attack in Paris

I am horrified, saddened and chastened by this attack.
Horrified by the trauma experienced by these two people. Saddened at the reminder that this trauma is experienced by so many gay and lesbian people, presumably at the hands of heterosexuals. Chastened because my husband and I are on holiday right now in this most romantic of cities and have wandered freely through the streets, holding hands, exchanging kisses and sharing an umbrella in the rain, with no thought of danger, or being targetted for showing love to each other. I thought that Paris was a city that accepted all lovers. This assault could have happened anywhere, but somehow I naively assumed it would be less likely here. I admire Mr de Bruijn for speaking out.

Attack in Paris

So sorry I do hope that your face heals well and that you soon feel a bit better. There are always bad people in the world. I am pleased you posted your picture, that was a brave thing to do and it lets other people know that there are mindless thugs not caring about hurting others. Take care

No excuse for this whatever your beliefs

Let me start by saying I hope you are getting better Wilfred and the same goes for Olivier.
There is no excuse for this sort of behaviour and it is unacceptable in any modern society.
I am a Catholic and I don't really agree with Gay marriage but then again my Christian ethics cause me turmoil. I don't think I have the right to separate two people who love each other. What right have I to force someone into a loveless lonely existence simply because they have a different sexual orientation to mine. I honestly believe we are all God's children and we should treat each other as such. It really saddens me to think that in 2013 someone can attack someone so violently simply for kissing and holding hands. I live in a small town in the north west of England and the locals are very old fashioned but I doubt (and hope) nothing like this would ever happen here.
As it says in the bible in Colossians 3:17. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
If everyone behaved in this way the world would be a better place.
We can only hope.

Assault is never right...

Obviously there are millions and millions of people who do not agree with homosexuality. Most of those people disagree for religious reasons, as morality is the onus of religion.

The concepts of right and wrong were born i religion, not survival, and therefore not evolution.

So, whether or not you agree or disagree with homosexuality, there is one thing that no one can disagree with in the civilized world, and that is the fact that ASSAULT IS A CRIME. It is wrong. Period.

And if your perception of homosexuality is based on religion, then you are an even bigger hypocrite because 1) you have broken the laws of man, 2) you have judged another when you are not fit to judge, 3) you have essentially said that your sins are lesser than other sins and thus also are guilty of being prideful, 4) you have failed to do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

Regardless of what religion you choose to identify with, you are as guilty of sin as the people you have assaulted and sat in judgement, when you are not without sin yourself.

If you have no religion to call your own, then you're still a criminal in the eyes of the law and no better than any other rapist, pedophile, drug dealer, thief or murderer.

Every human is entitled to their opinion. Religions tend to refer to homosexuality as being unnatural and a sin, but to all human life being equally sacred. The 84% of the world population who claims a "faith" would say their perception is that homosexuality is a sin and the other 16% without religion are the true bigots. The use of "bigots" is certainly, in America, mainly associated with the clashes over race rights, rather than women's rights, homosexual rights, or the rights of those who are physically and mentally challenged.

Perhaps the only thing worse than a bigot with no basis, is a criminal pack of people who will assault those who are alone or weaker in order to feel superior.

The truth is, those penny-ante thug-wanna-be's are inferior and reek like the bottom of a cattle farmer's pasture boots.

Wouldn't everyone like to know the sins of those not-so-pure-of-heart haters?

In the words of The Bible, "let he who is without sin cast the first stone."

Last time I checked, 'hate', like envy, greed, coveting, etc., was a sin.

I'm not sure that religion

I'm not sure that religion alone can be used against homophobes...
The bible does say: "If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall surely be put to death; their blood is upon them."
Or perhaps this is just metaphorical, and in my ignorance, I'm not seeing its subtleties.

What's your point? Assault is

What's your point? Assault is wrong. Period.

I admire your courage to post this

"There is an ancient pact between twenty times the size of France and freedom in the world." (Charles De Gaulle)
In my opinion, a large part of French society today can not be solved as time evolved, France can no longer be what it once was, at the time she "illuminated" the peoples in search of ideals and / or she saved the world.
Today, we have a company has two speeds: one side, "the guardians of the values ​​of size of France, who are desperate to" resurface "the society struggling through a moral superiority, against gays and immigration, both "real" problems recognized as such by politicians and the media and followed closely by "honest people" looking goat emmisaire to their problems.
Personally, I think the answer souprenante the "homophobic carthésian": "But I have nothing against homosexuals, but why should they get married? They have rights in France, they have the PACS. '' Translation: "Equality yes, but not with me. Why do they have the same rights as me? It's not the same. I'm normal, so I'm better. "This is the problem . All goes well until there is no equal. Woe to those who say otherwise. It may stir the minds and rattle it and sometimes that tape.
On the other hand, we have those who understand the France of today's multicultural identities and values ​​are intertwined. They want to change things in claiming rights, defending and trying to move on the attitudes.

Good Luck Wilfred
Never loose your courage and your cool atitude. personnaly, i would have been collapsed and in anger.

Condemn all form of Extremism.

Freedom of speech and expression is a human right as it does not interfere the rights of others. All forms of extremism is repugnant and should be condemned and I condemn this vile act of inhuman attack.

I am not gay but I stand to protect your freedom! I am sorry that you suffered at the hands of such brutes! What were they thinking to achieve?

Howver, it's better to express your affection in private to safe gaurd yourself from such in humane attacks.

I am sure that people of France are tolerant people besides the few extremists.

I wish all people of all background safe living, whatever persuasion they subscribe to providing they don't hurt or interfere with the rights of others.

de Brujin

I'm very sorry that this happened to you. It appears that in France, as in the U.S., that talk of equal rights for all is nothing but a joke. I expect Americans to be bigots, but not the French. How sad.

Really shocking

I am so sad to read news of you. I am a Burmese guy living in Bangkok, Thailand. Before, I've studied French and worked at the French embassy where I met many gay colleagues. And for me, France is a gay heaven in Europe as much as Thailand in Asia. Gay marriage is beyond imagination here though, i have been living together with my partner for over 5 years. Discreet is our policy as we don't want to attract public attention.
To show our love or interest each other, we do only in our room. For most Asian society cannot accept. What they believe is whether you are gay or straight, that is your own business and they don't want to see unnatural way of affection.

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