Hate crimes occur all too often in today’s society. Whether due to race, religion, sexual orientation, or even a lifestyle choice, victims of such crimes are seemingly targeted at random. A man in Piccadilly Gardens, riding a tram, became a recent victim of a homophobic hate crime, simply for singing a tune from the musical Wicked.
Jean Claude Manseau and his friend Jake Heaton were riding the Metrolink from Bury to Manchester, England. During the trip, they passed the time by singing various tunes from the musical Wicked. During the ride, a man began to yell out homophobic remarks to the men, causing them to feel uncomfortable. Both exited the tram at Market Street and made their way toward Canal Street. However, the homophobic passenger cut them off at Picadilly Gardens and continued his verbal assault.
Although the area was out in the open, the man escalated from taunts to a real threat when he called over a group of approximately fifteen friends, according to the Manchester Evening News. As the group circled Jean Claude and Jake, they began to attack them. Jean Claude was knocked unconscious and became an easy victim during the onslaught. He received multiple wounds to the head, a broken nose, and various other bruises and scrapes. Jake also received some bruises and was punched in the back of the head. However, he was able to escape the crowd and call for help from a nearby shop. In the meantime, a passerby also called the police for help.
Police are searching for the man, and a woman he was with, for further questioning. Both are in their early 20s.
Jean Claude is not only physically bruised but emotionally as well. He feels that he no longer has the confidence to travel on the tram alone, and does not believe he will feel safe with a friend by his side. Although his physical pain will heal, he states that he will be left with scars as a reminder of the incident.
“They split my forehead, my lip, broke my nose. My eyes are black and swollen. My ribs are painful, I can’t move much. My face is going to be scarred for life. That has upset me.”
Detective Constable Time Greenwood, of the Greater Manchester Police, share that he will not tolerate such hatred under his watch, reported Metro U.K.
“We are treating this as a homophobic assault as the men made homophobic comments to the victim as they attacked him. The attack was totally unprovoked and the message is clear — we simply will not tolerate it.”
[Photo Courtesy: Manchester Evening News]