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Student Attacked in Soho hate crime

QM student assaulted outside The Box nightclub in Soho for his sexuality, told by attackers: “It’s Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve”

A Queen Mary Drama student has been attacked due to his sexuality whilst waiting for a friend outside The Box nightclub in Soho. Benedict Stewardson, 20, was approached by a group of men who told him “Halloween hadn’t started yet.” After responding to the remark Benedict, was aggressively confronted by one of the men asking for a fight.

The man then verbally abused Benedict, who was dressed in drag, allegedly saying: “I’m not the one with the problem, you are. God made men and women not men and men, Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve. You’re the one who takes it up the bum.” The attacker then punched Benedict causing him to fall to the ground, before fleeing from the scene.

Benedict has commented on the assault, saying: “After an attack where a stranger demonstrates prejudices you are aware of – constantly aware of – yet have managed to manoeuvre yourself away from, it brings reality into sharp focus. London is not a haven for queer people, it isn’t safe and gay-bashing and anti-queer violence is not something that we left behind in the dust of the 2000s. Queer rights do not end with equal marriage. We as a society have a long way to go because people like me still face the fear that comes with being attacked and physically assaulted because of what you are and who you love. Until every citizen can walk down the street without having to check themselves or take detours because they fear for their own safety, then we cannot claim to be a fair and equal society.”

The Met police are treating the incident as a homophobic hate crime and have issued a statement, commenting: “Westminster police is committed to tackling hate crime in all its forms and is dedicated to working with, and improving services for the LGBT communities within the City of Westminster.” The assault comes in the wake of a string of attacks on Soho drag queens in July, in which two were arrested.

QMSU’s LGBT+ representative for Mile End, Adam Sparkes, has commented on the attack, saying: “First of all I’d like to express my complete disgust at what happened to Benedict. Nobody deserves to be attacked for any reason, especially due to their sexuality, or the way they choose to dress.”

“Homophobic attacks seem to be occurring more frequently within London and this is of course an issue we’re trying to tackle head on within Tower Hamlets. This attack took place within Soho, an area which is considered to be much safer for members of the LGBT+ community. Attacks such as this highlight the amount of work that still needs to be done with tackling ignorance and homophobia, not just within Tower Hamlets but across London.”

 

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