“We wont stop being who we are” – those are the defiant words of a victim of a homophobic attack in Scotland’s capital city at the weekend.
Andy Millin (32) and his boyfriend Cameron Stringer (26) were walking home after a night at the popular venue CC Blooms on Saturday when they were attacked just after 3am.
Speaking to Pink Saltire earlier, Andy said they were targeted because of their sexuality:
“We were walking home towards Leith Walk, holding hands after a great night out together, and there were 2 people behind us when suddenly one of them ran up and kicked Cameron in the back. I tried to protect him, to pull him away and then I got punched hard in the face. I completely blacked out.”
“When I opened my eyes I thought they had left the area but then one of them ran past again and punched Cameron in the head – it was so scary.”
“There were some other people about, one man standing at the bus stop nearby, and the guys just ran past towards London Road. We flagged down a police car that was passing but they told us they were on another job and couldn’t stop.”
Andy and Cameron went straight home and called the police and an ambulance. Andy says medical help arrived quickly but that the police response came over 9 HOURS later, at 1.30pm the next day.
Pictures of Andy’s injuries, including a burst nose and cuts and bruising to the face, can be seen here. Cameron suffered bruising and cuts to his body.
Andy says he hopes the police can take the incident seriously and catch the culprits before anyone else suffers a similar attack, “They spoke with an Eastern European or maybe Russian accent and they made a gesture that suggested we were being attacked for holding hands and being gay. We’d never seen them before so its hard to give a description but the police are looking for witnesses to come forward and looking at CCTV in the area.”
After living in the city for over 6 years, Andy says he’s always felt safe in Edinburgh and that he knows the majority of people have no problem with same-sex relationships now, but does admit the attack has had an effect on both men.
He said, “We are both looking around now and a bit paranoid when we went out yesterday but hopefully that wont last – they wont stop us being who we are!”
Reacting to the news of the attack earlier, a spokesperson for Pride Edinburgh said:
“We are shocked and saddened by this news, we condemn those responsible for this attack and reiterate that homophobia will not be tolerated in our city.”
Anyone witnessing the assault, or with information to help the investigation, is asked to contact Police Scotland on 101.