A US student, who was beaten up for being gay, tweeted a defiant message to his attacker and instantly became a viral sensation.
Ohio student Cole Ledford, who tweets at @ColeLedford11, was beaten up for kissing his boyfriend, and was left with a painful black eye.
Yesterday (November 7), he tweeted a picture of himself and his injuries alongside a text with the words: ‘To the guy who punched me tonight for kissing my boyfriend.’
‘I’m sorry that you called me fag,’ wrote Ledford.
‘I’m sorry you hit me for no reason. I’m sorry that whatever insecurities you have don’t allow you to accept others for who they are. I’m sorry that I threaten you.
‘I’m NOT sorry I’m gay. I’m proud to be this way. I’m proud to be confident enough to love who I love and to love me. I’m proud to have friends and family that love me regardless of me. Honestly, I’m not sorry.’
Since posting the image, Ledford has become somewhat of an overnight star. His tweet was retweeted more than 23,000 times.
He later posted a cute photo of him and his boyfriend with the caption: ‘Boyfriend wanted to say hi and thanks for the support! Off to Cleveland to see the fam! #loveislove #youallrock.’
He also tweeted: ‘overwhelmed by all the support. I have a nasty black eye but other than that, I’m fine. Thank you all so much! Love > Hate.’
He’s also been encouraging his new-found followers to support equality charities if they want to help.
‘If what happened to me makes you want to make a difference please consider donating to the @HRC and help their fight,’ he tweeted.