Devin Norman, a 26 year old from Corinth, Mississippi, has posted images of his horrific facial injuries after an alleged homophobic attack

Mr Norman was viciously beaten in the car park of a Walmart on Friday. He was left with fractured bones in his face and severely bruised eye sockets.

It is believed that Mr Norman and alleged attacker 22-year-old James Scott knew each other, and had clashed over a social media post.

Police have brought charges of assault against Mr Scott – but Mr Norman is calling for it to be classified as a hate crime.

Speaking to local TV station WMC Action News 5, Mr Norman said: “The entire time all I remember hearing in my head was f****t this and f****t that.

“I think it’s a travesty that there’s an entire segment of abuse that is just swept under the rug. Yes his assault was aggravated but it was something very else entirely – it was simply because of who I love”

Police Chief Ralph Dance said: “We’ve heard from several people, including the victim, that the suspect beat him up because he’s homosexual.

“So far, we don’t have any proof that’s the case.”

A petition has been posted online calling on the Corinth police force to classify the attack as a hate crime, which: “The local DA is charging the attacker with assault but this is obviously a hate crime motivated by sexual orientation.

“Mississippi has no protections for LGBT people. Please ask them to consider harsher punishment as it is obviously a hate crime.”