Police have begun investigating an attack on a man who challenged homophobic slurs coming from a group.
The assault happened in York, U.K. as the man walked through a railway station in early October. A group of men targeted the victim, according to British authorities.
One of the group members called the man antigay slurs when the victim challenged him over the comments, the group member hit him, knocking him out.
“The victim challenged the man, who responded by punching the victim in the face, causing him to lose consciousness and hit his head on the floor as he fell,” a police spokesperson told The York Press. “The man then left the station while the other members of his group boarded a train.”
Authorities have released CCTV images of a man that could have information relevant to the police investigation. The man had blonde hair and was wearing a blue button-up shirt.
The case is just the latest in the continued growth of anti-LGBTQ+ violence in the U.K.
Data from Vice World News found a 210 percent increase in homophobic hate crimes from 2014-2021. In the same period, an increase of 332 percent was seen in transphobic hate crimes.
The outlet reports that there were around 6,300 reports of hate crimes based on sexuality in 2014-2015 — the same year same-sex marriage became legal in the U.K. The number was almost 20,000 in 2020-2021. For transphobic hate crimes, there were about 600 reported in 2014-2015 and 2,600 in 2020-2021.
PinkNews notes that about 90 percent of hate crimes against queer people go unreported, so that number is actually higher.