Man jailed for homophobic attack that left teen ‘scared for my life’
A man has been jailed for beating up a teenager in a homophobic attack on a bus in Bristol.
Paul Austin, 27, of Inns Court, was handed an 18-week prison sentence for assaulting Kydis Zellinger, who uses the pronouns they/them.
Austin had pleaded guilty to assault by beating at Bristol Magistrates Court.
The 27-year old attacked Zellinger on a bus and subjected the teenager to anti-gay slurs.
In their victim statement, Zellinger said they are afraid to go out because they are scared of being attacked again, reports BristolLive.
“I can’t understand why any human being could attack another in this way,” Zellinger said in court.
“I was scared for my life as he was towering over me in such a threatening manner and in such a rage.
“I don’t understand what I’d done to upset him—the only thing I can think of is he has a problem with my sexuality.
“Since this incident I have been left feeling emotionally drained and vulnerable. I have trouble sleeping as I have nightmares reliving the incident.”
In a Facebook post on October 16, the teenager said Austin approached them and “aggressively” told them: “You little f***ing Queer who do you think you’re getting mouthy to [sic]?!”
After yelling more anti-gay slurs, Austin then beat Zellinger up, leaving them with a swollen face and two black eyes. The teen also suffered bruising to the back of their head.
Zellinger previously told PinkNews that they are proud to be part of the LGBT+ community, adding that the assault “won’t stop me be from being who I am.”
The teenager said the attack had left them in “complete shock” and had a negative impact on their mental health.
“The fact that we’re living in 2018 and there are still some people who believe that hate crimes are okay is truly appalling.
“I’ve recently gained a lot of confidence within myself after dealing with some pretty rough mental health issues, and this has unfortunately set me back quite far, almost destroying a lot of milestones that I’d overcome.
“I’m hoping I’ll bounce back, and with the endless and continued support of the massive community, I truly believe that I’ll come out the other end stronger.
“Things like this can’t go ignored or unpunished, what happened to me was not okay but there are so so many other people who have had either the same treatment or worse,” the teenager said.
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They added that the assault would not stop them from proudly being part of the LGBT+ community.
They said: “Gay/Trans/Bi/any member of the LGBTQ+ society should never feel like they’re less than perfect, or deserving of hatred, because we aren’t.”
“We’re people just like anybody else and we’re not going anywhere! I can say for myself that I will continue to wear my sexuality with pride, and I am incredibly proud to be a member of the LGBTQ+ society.
“This attack won’t stop me from being who I am, so these homophobes better get used to us being around!”