A gay man in the US city of Baltimore, Maryland, has been left battered and bruised after he was attacked on Christmas Eve.

30-year-old Kenni Shaw posted a photo of what he looked like before and after the assault on his Instagram account.

Mr Shaw believes he was targetted by his attackers – a group of five individuals – because of his sexuality.

The attack happened on 24 November at around 9pm outside a store near his home in East Baltimore.

Speaking to the Baltimore Sun, Mr Shaw said he was “pinned down by punches”.

“It was so hard that I felt my lip and side face swell up immediately. I was trying to talk to these guys, but they weren’t letting me talk.”

He added: “I was just beaten in my face. Nothing was taken. No words were exchanged before the incident, so to me, I think it was a hate crime.”

After the assault, Mr Shaw telephoned his mother, who spoke of her shock and horror at learning of what had happened.

“I can’t even describe that moment for me. I thought my world was ending,” said Sheila Shaw. “No parent wants to get that phone call. The tone of his voice … I thought, ‘He’s strong enough to make the phone call, but I’m probably going to lose my son.’”

Mr Shaw, a cosmetologist and hairstylist, revealed that he had previously been called a ‘faggot’ by other residents in his neighbourhood.

Police are still investigating the assault and have “some good leads in the case,” but have not determined a motive, said Detective Jeremy Silbert, a Baltimore police spokesman.