This gay couple stopped a man sexually harassing women. He paid them back with a vicious homophobic attack
A gay couple visiting a French carnival saw their day devastated after they stopped a man harassing women who then proceeded to beat them brutally.
Lucas and Noël hit the annual Carnival Biarnés in Pau on Saturday, where colourful floats roll down the cobblestone and participants do a mock bear hunt, only to encounter a 19-year-old local they had met the night before.
The man was thrown out of a bar Friday evening after the couple put a stop to his “inappropriate behaviour” towards women. “He recognised us,” Noël explained, “he wanted revenge,” Sud Ouest reported.
“We followed him outside and it degenerated when he realised that we’re gay.”
The attack may have shaken the couple, but they remain resilient: “We will continue to hold hands, to kiss.
“This attack only makes us want to show more affection.”
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He then began to attack the couple in an avalanche of punches to the face while hurling homophobic insults. Their sexual orientation, Noël said, “obviously drove him crazy.”
Lucas suffered several injuries to the face and was even forced to take three days off work.
Yet, courts did not recognise the attack as fuelled by homophobia. The Pau court, “for want of having enough information,” only carried charges of wilful violence aggravated by alcohol.
Moreover, the couple added that they wanted to “shorten” their police interview as they felt too shaken by the attack. This was swung as evidence against it not being as a hate crime, according to the court.
Local advocacy group LGBT+ Arcolan supporting the pair’s legal processing as well as pressing prosecutors to treat the incident as a hate crime. While the attacker himself, arrested but since released, will stand trial in the criminal courts on September 1.
The incident comes as France is roiled by rocketing rates of anti-LGBT hate crimes, where 2018 was observed as the worst year since records began.