A gay barman was knocked unconscious in a homophobic attack the day before Leeds’ fifth Pride festival.
Dane Holdsworth, 21, from Leeds, said he was attacked by two men as he walked home from work early on Saturday morning on York Road.
He had just finished his shift at the Viaduct in Leeds city centre and was walking a short distance to his father’s house after being dropped off by a taxi.
He said the pair spotted his rainbow wristband and demanded to know if he was gay before punching, biting, strangling and kicking him.
Mr Holdsworth appeared on BBC Look North yesterday to speak about the incident, with his face bruised and cut.
He said he told the men he was gay and began to walk off quickly.
“I said ‘yeah’ – I’m not going to lie about it. They looked as if they were just going to walk off, then as they walked past one of them grabbed me and pulled me down and they just started laying into me.
“I passed out while they were hitting me. One of them sat on top of me while the other was hitting me. And then I think one of them bit me and then they tried to strangle me.”
He added that the attack had affected his confidence.
I didn’t choose to be gay, I can’t help how I feel about people,” he said.
“I don’t flaunt it, I don’t push it in people’s faces, but when people are coming up to you and hitting you for being gay… I didn’t think it would happen now, I thought everything was gay-friendly. But it’s not at all.”
Mr Holdsworth told the Yorkshire Evening Post that this was the sixth time he had been attacked for being gay since the age of 15.
The attack came less than 48 hours before 23,000 people celebrated Pride in the city.
Police confirmed they are investigating.
Mr Holdsworth spoke on stage about the attack while Leeds’ first out gay MP, Stuart Andrew, also addressed the crowds.