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Crime

Gay couple attacked, called ‘faggots’ by homophobic thugs for holding hands in Poland

Ella Braidwood August 24, 2018
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A gay couple have told how they were subjected to a homophobic attack by two men shouting “faggots” and “gay c***s” on a busy beach in Gdańsk, Poland, while onlookers stood by and did nothing.

British national James Pickering, 39, and his Polish-German boyfriend Joseph Czarny, 25, who currently live in London, told PinkNews that the attack on Sunday afternoon (August 19) was “traumatising.”

The couple had planned to move to the eastern European country to care for Czarny’s parents, but they are now re-considering whether to relocate.

Speaking to PinkNews, Pickering, an investment banker, explained that he and his partner were walking along the beach holding hands, when two men approached them and “knocked my partner’s shoulder, hard,” so that Czarny was forced to drop his phone and shoes in the sand.

Czarny (pictured) sustained facial bruising from the attack. (Courtesy of James Pickering and Joseph Czarny)

Pickering, who said the beach was busy at the time of the attack, continued: “They then proceeded to verbally abuse us aggressively calling us ‘faggots’ and ‘gay c***s.’”

The 39-year old told PinkNews that the couple did not argue with the men and decided to leave the beach.

However, he said that they were followed by their abusers, who then attacked them.

“We went to the exit of the beach, and they attacked us from behind,” Pickering said. “I was punched twice in the back of the head and it was so hard that I fell into a fence.

“My partner Joseph was then punched in his face and fell over as well, breaking his phone on the floor.”

Czarny, who runs an electrical company, told PinkNews: “Nobody really helped us to be honest…that was the most depressing thing, you know.

“Attacking us was one thing, but another thing was that nobody helped. That was just unbelievable.”

Pickering (pictured) is suffering from concussion as a result of the attack. (Courtesy of James Pickering and Joseph Czarny)

Pickering added that a guy, who looked to be in his mid-thirties, even egged on the two attackers, shouting that Pickering and his boyfriend were “f***ing disgusting faggots and we deserved it.”

The pair managed to get to a beach guard, who then called the police.

Pickering told PinkNews that they were interviewed at Gdynia-Witomino police station. He said that police are now investigating the incident.

PinkNews has contacted the police force for comment.

Speaking about the impact of the attack, Pickering said: “It’s been a traumatic experience…We are, I suppose, not afraid to go out, but we’re afraid to go to certain areas.”

Pickering said he had been sick and is suffering from concussion as a result of the attack. He added that he also has blurred vision.

“It’s caused me depression, really,” said Pickering. “A real lack of faith in going outside and being openly gay. I’ve never been a person anywhere – I’ve lived all over the world – and to have to hide who I am is really not a nice thing to have to do and makes me a different person.”

James Pickering (left) and Joseph Czarny told PinkNews that they are now questioning whether to move permanently to Poland because of the attack. (Courtesy of James Pickering and Joseph Czarny)

Czarny explained that the attack had resulted in him suffering from “loads of stress” and “depression.”

He also told PinkNews he fears that the assault will not be treated as a homophobic attack because there is currently no specific law protecting LGBT+ people from hate crimes in Poland.

A bill was introduced into Poland’s parliament in 2018, which, if passed, would increase penalties for those attacks motivated by hate against LGBT+ people.

Pickering said that it was the first time the couple had been physically attacked in Poland.

However, he said that they had received homophobic verbal abuse in the country before.

Pickering said that, during one previous incident, a man had spat at him and his partner, screaming, “F**k you, faggots.”

Related topics: beach, Europe, gay couple, homophobic attack, Poland, Poland

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