Gay couple recalls homophobic attack: ‘It's difficult to go out and stop being afraid’
Yuri and Andree were brutally assaulted in Barcelona on June 24, but the aggressor remains unidentified
In the early hours of June 24, as the city of Barcelona rejoiced in Saint John’s festivities, Yuri and Andree were on their way to the Fontana metro station, in the Gràcia neighborhood, when a man stopped them and asked for a lighter. He then looked at them carefully, and said: "I’m going to kill you, faggots."
What followed was an "extremely violent" aggression, which left them physically injured and psychologically shocked. "For a moment I thought we would not survive," says Andree, recalling the incident in an interview with the Catalan News Agency.
They rushed to the metro station in an attempt to find shelter in the crowd, but nobody tried to stop the aggressor. "I can understand why people wouldn’t intervene because the degree of violence was brutal," explains Yuri.
When police arrived minutes later, the attacker had already fled. His identity remains unknown despite several people recording the scene with their mobile phones.
"It's brough up moments of my adolescence in the 2000s when I suffered physical and verbal aggressions that I thought were long forgotten"
Yuri · Survivor of a homophobic attack
One month on, the couple is still recovering from the aggression. Andree explains that his back hurts, but the psychological trauma has proven even harder to overcome. "It is difficult to go out and stop being afraid," he says.
As a member of the LGTBQ community, Andree is hardly unfamiliar with bigotry and hate speech. He says insults and threats are meant to "make you feel more vulnerable."
Yet with their assault coming in the wake of other homophobic attacks in Barcelona, as well as the murder of 24-year-old Samuel Luiz Muñiz in Galicia, in the North-West of Spain, Andree believes that the pain "lingers for a longer time," as well as the feeling that "it could happen to anyone."
For Yuri, the aggression revived painful memories of his teenage years. "We have insomnia, we are on medication, and It's brought up moments of my adolescence in the 2000s when I suffered physical and verbal aggressions that I thought I had forgotten."