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Two Arrested After Homophobic, Slur-Filled Beating in Liverpool

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Monday July 12, 2021

Aodhán Benson
Aodhán Benson  (Source:Aodhán Benson/Twitter)

Two men have been arrested following the anti-LGBTQ epithet-filled beating of a 24-year-old gay man in Liverpool, England, shortly after midnight on June 10, the Daily Star reports.

The victim, Aodhán Benson of Belfast, Ireland, had been sitting with friends outside a supermarket when the group attacked. The incident transpired after a man had come up to the group and took offense to Benson having called him "love," the Liverpool Echo recounted.

"He went, 'Love, why would you say 'love'? Only f*****s would say love,'" Benson told the Echo. "And I was like, 'Well I am a f*****," Benson added, "because I'm not ashamed to say it."

Benson said he told the man to "fuck off," at which point the man had become even more belligerent. "He went, 'Don't speak to me like that, you f***** c***, you gay f***** c***.' And then he punched me."

Benson punched the man back in self-defense, he said, but then "two of his friends then came and I was like, 'Well I can't hit all three of them.'" All three men began beating Benson — an attack he said was terrifying, in part because another young man had been murdered not far away from the spot.

"I was like 'Oh my god what if I die?'" Benson recalled.

Thankfully, Benson's friends intervened, allowing him to escape, and then the police were called to the scene. Benson received treatment for facial lacerations, including a cut over his eye.

Police relied on witnesses and security camera video to catch the assailants. Two arrests have been made so far, with a 47-year-old man facing assault charges and a 33-year-old man facing assault charges as well as a charge related to drug possession.

Speaking to the media of the psychological trauma of the assault, Benson recounted, "If this is what being gay means, then I don't want to be gay. Literally, if this is what my sexuality results in, then I'll not be gay then, if you just leave me alone."

"How many more times will it happen to me?" the 24-year-old university graduate added. "Like, why are people so horrible? It's just sick."

Taking to Twitter, however, Benson expressed his gratitude for the support he has received in the wake of the attack.

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.