A gay couple were beaten up by two strangers after sharing a kiss on the streets in Paris, the second homophobic aggression to take place in the so-called city of love in less than a month.
The attack, which was recorded by CCTV cameras, took place on Saturday (October 6) evening around 10pm local time in the city’s 19th arrondissement, home to the Parc de la Villette, according to the French news outlet LCI.
Two men were arrested in connection to the attack, which police considered to be of a homophobic nature. The two victims were brought to the hospital with injuries to their neck and nose.
The dynamic of the aggression was similar to an attack that took place in the 20th arrondissement on September 18, when another gay couple was beaten up after they hugged on the street by unknown assailants, according to the local newspaper Le Parisien.
One of the young men, comedian Arnaud Gagnoud, was hit with a motorcycle helmet, and he later published a picture of his injuries and an account of the attack on his Instagram profile which has since been “liked” nearly 2,000 times.
According to French rights organisation SOS Homophobie, which works to raise awareness against LGBTphobia and support victims, there has been a 15 percent increase in the reports of physical assaults between 2017 and 2018.
While the organisation publishes figures for 2018 next May, SOS Homophobie President Joël Deumier told PinkNews that, since June, there have been a series of “disturbing” attacks throughout the country.
“Ajda, trans person attacked in Limoges at the beginning of August. Vanesa Campos, a trans person killed in Paris mid-August. A young woman assaulted because she kissed her girlfriend in Paris at the end of August. Several young men assaulted in Nîmes last week. A couple of women sprinkled with bleach and black paint in Lille in early September. A trans sex worker victim robbery and assault this week. Arnaud, attacked because he hugged his partner,” Deumier recalled.
According to SOS Homophobie, the narrative around LGBT+ people in France has recently worsened due to an ongoing debate around changing the law to make assisted reproductive technology (ART) available to both single women and women in same-sex relationships.
“This homophobic speech against homosexual parenthood and LGBT people is carried out by the Church, by the Conference of the Bishops of France, by La Manif pour Tous [an organisation that campaigns against same-sex marriage]. These have real consequences for society, legitimising homophobia and encouraging people to [turn words] into actions,” Deumier said.
At the same time, SOS Homophobie recognised that an increase in reported assaults also means that victims of LGBTphobia are speaking up more often. “There is clearly a liberation of the words of the victims.”