Young man left bleeding after violent late-night attack ‘just because I’m gay’

A man who was covered in blood after a late night city centre assault believes he was targeted by violent thugs ‘just because I’m gay’.

Kolade Ladipo, 21, was leaving a nightclub on Monday August 10 when he claims he was the victim of a homophobic slur.

He revealed that the attacker and his friend became violent after being confronted by one of Kolade’s female friends.

Kolade attending a protest in Liverpool early this year after a spate of homophobic attacks in the city

Kolade and his friends, who were dressed in pyjamas, left their local takeaway when the shocking event unfolded, which left the student with a bloodied lip.

A man walked past him and made a homophobic comment.

Earlier that night, a man in a club had also called Kolade a homophobic slur and threw a drink at him, according to a report in Liverpool Echo.

Hearing the abuse for a second time that night, Kolade’s friend confronted the man on Seel Street, Liverpool as they left.

Kolade said: “She said to him, ‘What? What’s your problem? Why are you trying to make a scene? Why are you being rude? Why are you being disrespectful?

“He immediately felt threatened and he immediately turned to violence. He started pushing her. And then his friend stood up and stood right in front of me and my friend.

Young man left bleeding after violent late-night attack ‘just because I’m gay’
Chanting for justice, Kolade Ladipo makes his voice heard

“And I said, ‘No, because I let it slide. I was nice and cordial. I let it slide that he was being disrespectful. I let it slide, but now he wants to get aggressive. You’ve started this. You’ve started physically being really disrespectful.

“The whole time he’s pushing [my friend], he’s pushing me, and it’s getting violent. We’re being pushed by two grown men.”

What concerned Kolade and his friends most, aside from the attack itself, was how no witnesses stepped in to stop what happened.

While they understand it can be scary to watch a fight unfold, they expected more from people who had seen the homophobia and men attacking women.

Kolade said: “After it all had died down and I was still at the scene and the man had moved away, I was screaming, ‘Just because I’m gay, literally just because I’m gay’. Everyone could hear me. They could see me covered in blood. They could see it.

“And it’s like, ‘I’m stood here covered in blood, screaming, ‘It’s because I’m gay’, and no one is coming to my aid. No one is saying anything. Everyone is just staring.”

Kolade’s friend Gaia added: “It was literally traumatising. Being friends with someone who is visibly queer, and also not just the fact that he’s visibly queer, but also black, we’re used to it as well.

“Obviously we’ll always defend him and we’ll always stick up for him. We’ll always protect him. So it makes us think what would have happened if we weren’t there.”

Later that morning, Kolade went to enter his apartment building, topless and bleeding, when he claims another man used a homophobic slur for the third time that night.

Young man left bleeding after violent late-night attack ‘just because I’m gay’
Kolade Ladipo became heavily involved in the Liverpool Black Lives Matter movement last summer after the death of George Floyd

Kolade said the abuse he receives is so common it has become ‘normalised’ but the LIPA student refuses to change who he is.

In July, he was abused and attacked twice in 24 hours which he believes was due to his sexuality. He spoke at a protest in June following a series of violent homophobic and transphobic attacks in Liverpool.

He added: “If I’m walking unapologetically in a space by myself, or with people, and I’m living my life unapologetically, there’s nothing I can do if somebody wants to hit me. They are going to do that.

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“I really don’t like when people say, ‘Oh stay safe’. I’m not conscious of that. I feel safe walking on the street, but it’s not up to me to be safe.

“I don’t inflict pain on myself. I don’t hit myself. I don’t punch myself. That’s someone else causing and inflicting their pain on me.

“Therefore, being safe isn’t a conscious effort of me trying to be safe.

“Why should I have to walk down the literal main road just to make sure that I’m visible? I shouldn’t have to not go down alleyways just to keep safe.

“It’s not up to me to stay safe. It’s up to the people who are violently attacking people to stop that and keep people safe.”

Kolade and his friends didn’t report the attack or homophobic slurs to the police as they feel that doing so can often result in a “long, traumatic process”.

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