Gay man ‘subjected to homophobic attack’ in Madrid says injuries were consensual

Spain’s equality minister, Irene Montero, says hate crimes rose 43 per cent in first half of 2021

Sam Hancock
Thursday 09 September 2021 09:47
Comments
<p>Dozens gathered at Sol square in Madrid on Wednesday night to protest against a rise in LGBT+ hate crimes </p>

Dozens gathered at Sol square in Madrid on Wednesday night to protest against a rise in LGBT+ hate crimes

A Spanish man who said a masked gang assaulted him with a knife in central Madrid and carved a homophobic slur into one of his buttocks has now told police that his injuries were consensual.

The alleged attack, which the 20-year-old initially claimed happened in the Malasaña neighbourhood on Sunday afternoon, came amid a sharp increase in hate crimes across the country – and just two months after 24-year-old Samuel Luiz, a gay man, was beaten to death in the northern city of A Coruña.

Spanish LGBT+ groups responded by organising a wave of protests to take place last night (Wednesday 8 September) while Pedro Sánchez, the prime minister, publicly condemned the incident and convened an urgent meeting of the anti-hate crimes commission – set to take place on Friday.

The man, who has not been named, originally reported that eight masked men had followed him into the hallway of his home in broad daylight and abused him verbally, before slashing his lower lip with a knife and carving the word “f****t” into his buttock.

However, on Wednesday afternoon, police and Spain’s interior ministry told local media that the man had withdrawn his claim and admitted the injuries he received were inflicted with his consent.

Officials refused to comment on his identity or motive, according to the Reuters news agency.

Meanwhile, a Policía Nacional spokeswoman reportedly told The Guardian that the man could face legal action for making a false complaint.

Organisers of Wednesday night’s rally in Madrid said the demonstrations would still go ahead, with one group, AbrirBrechaMadrid, insisting that a single false report should not distract from a rising number of hate crimes.

“[This is] very important. This week there have been serious attacks on other people of the LGTBI collective,” it said in a tweet. “The extreme right is going to use the Malasaña case to deactivate the movement, which is why it is important to be in the streets.”

Another group, Movimiento Marika Madrid, said in a statement that protesters would continue to protest against the violence inflicted on LGBTI people.

“[We will protest because] they killed Samuel [Luiz] for being gay and because those of you reading this have also had to suffer violence, harassment, fear and the danger of death,” it said.

Spain’s equality minister, Irene Montero, echoed both groups’ sentiments in a tweet published after the false report was confirmed by police. “Hate crimes against the LGBTI collective rose 43 per cent during the first half of 2021. Let’s not lose sight of the forest because of one tree,” she said.

A YouGov survey published last month found that Spain showed one of the most liberal attitudes towards homosexuality people among eight developed countries, with 91 per cent of Spaniards polled saying they would support a member of their family if they came out – the UK scored 85.

However, Boti García Rodrigo, the Spanish government’s director of sexual diversity and LGBT+ rights, recently told The Independent that despite a general attitude of respect towards gay and trans people there was a minority – predominantly young men – radically opposed to this community.

“Many studies show us … [they] do not only not accept or respect sexual diversity but are very much against this and respond with aggressiveness,” she said.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in