A YOUNG IRISH man living in Australia has been left traumatised after he was beaten up twice for being gay following a recent night out.
22-year-old Dylan Souster, who is originally from Laragh in County Wicklow, but has been living in Australia for the past three years, suffered cuts and bruises to his head and face, a split lip and bruising to his body from the incidents which occurred in the Waterloo area of Sydney.
Since the horrific incident he has been suffering from nightmares and is now terrified to leave the apartment he shares with his boyfriend Darren Hedderman.
Dylan was returning from a night out when the first incident occurred. He left his flat to make sure some friends got home safely when he was set upon by a group of men.
“I’ve experienced verbal homophobic abuse in Sydney while alone and with my partner but never anything physical. I’m terrified to leave my apartment now,” he said.
The first attack was a complete blur. I was literally across the road from my apartment when I went to turn around and walk home, after realising that my friends had left and got into a taxi or walked, I just remember being hit in the face by a man.
“After that I don’t know if I ran back in shock to get away but I remember waking up in the green being kicked and punched all over my body by a group of men.”
Dylan tried to make his way back to his apartment when another man, who he describes as a ‘good Samaritan’, came to his rescue.
The man helped him back to his apartment and asked him if he was ok, but when Dylan told him that his boyfriend was upstairs, he called him a “queer c**t” before punching him in the face.
“The guy that tried to help me seemed genuine as he walked me within 50 metres of my apartment,” Dylan says.
It was only when he asked what had happened and I mentioned my boyfriend that he freaked out and said ‘you’re one of those fags ya f***ing queer c**t’ then he turned on me and hit me full force in the face.
I’ve been having nightmares of feet coming towards my face and waking me up. I honestly thought I was going to die.
“I’ve never been so scared in my life. Hopefully the people that did this will be caught so that it can’t happen to anyone else,” Dylan added.
Police in New South Wales are investigating the incident and in a statement said: “The occurrence of two bias-related assaults over one weekend is not common, and is of concern to police.”
We are now looking at CCTV of the incidents and with Mardi Gras (which celebrates sexual and gender diversity) two weeks away we are advising people to be vigilant and be aware of their surroundings.