The two attackers who forced a young gay student to apologize for being gay in a violent attack on the UK capitals tube network – have pleaded guilty.
Will Mayrick, who studies Digital Photography at Ravensbourne University in London, was attacked in October last year on the way to a popular queer club night, Sink the Pink.
Friday at the Bexley Magistrate Courts in London, the sixteen and seventeen-year-olds pleaded guilty to assault. Both are now subject to a referral order of 12 months and will have to work with the youth offending team throughout that time.
The court was told the attackers used slurs like ‘faggot’ and ‘queers’ to taunt Will and his friends.
Covered up in a large parka coat for to protect himself from the English winter, Will went out dressed as a unicorn last October to have a fun night out with his friends.
But on the way, Will was strangled and forced to apologize for being gay. Today, his attackers pleaded guilty to the attack, and Will feels vindicated:
‘I hope today’s verdict sets an example to homophobes everywhere. The sentence will never replace what took place that weekend, and how it affected us all after. But, I hope it raises awareness that more needs to be done to combat homophobia. It’s still a massive issue on our streets.’ he tells GSN in reaction.
The pair apologized in court and will have to pay Will compensation. But he has already told GSN he will give any compensation he receives to an LGBTI support charity.
‘Strangled and forced to apologize for being gay’
Speaking about the attack, Will tells GSN of the cruel nature of it:
‘We’d met some friends and then we were on the tube, dressed up in fancy dress. I covered myself up in a big parker, you couldn’t see my outfit.
‘These guys got on the tube just before North Greenwich where we were going to get off. They walked on and started shouting abuse at my friend who stood up. The attackers got face to face with him. Which is when I got up and said “come on guys, give it a rest.”‘
But they didn’t, and the attack intensified:
‘He got me in a headlock so tight that I couldn’t breathe. They were telling me to apologize [for being gay]. At the same time the guy was reaching into his jacket and making gestures to pull out a knife and they were threatening to stab me.’
‘Inside I was like – I’m not going to do that. Nobody should ever have to apologize for being gay or LGBTI. But I thought if I don’t apologize – I don’t know what’s going to happen.’
Since the attack, Will’s resolve has been focused forward.
Inspired by the attack, he’s not only ramped up his work on campus running the LGBTI society he’s been training with the Diversity Role Models and going into schools.
He believes that if the young men who attacked him had been given LGBTI inclusive education – any prejudice inside them that fueled the attack would have been extinguished in them.
You can follow more of Will’s inspiring story from attack to role model over the coming week’s by subscribing to the Gay Star News YouTube channel.