A hate crime investigation has begun after a 15-year-old boy was the victim of a homophobic attack last week.
The assault, which happened in St. Andrews, Scotland, occurred after the teenager had gotten off a bus in the town, according to the local newspaper The Courier.
Before he stepped off the bus, the assailants had yelled antigay slurs at him, then followed him when he got off.
“There were three of them, they attacked him from behind, he fell on the ground and hit his head,” the victim’s mother told the paper. “They punched him in the face and started kicking him on the ground.”
Witnesses of the attack stepped in and separated the assailants from the boy.
“It’s really upsetting,” the mother said. “I’ve been young myself and I can understand that kids sometimes can be a bit cruel towards anyone who is different but the whole violence, that’s really scary.”
She continued: “It could have been much worse and the idea of him not being able to walk around the street in St. Andrews of all places – it’s not something that ever crossed our minds. It just doesn’t happen that often, it’s just really scary.”
The mother explained to the paper that her son “never had a closet to come out of” because the family had always accepted him.
“For him to be faced with that sort of prejudice to the point where he says: ‘people hate who I am to the point that they’re willing to beat me up’ – I think that’s really serious emotionally for anyone who is going through teenage years and already dealing with homosexuality, which is a lot of the times a sensitive issue,” the mother said.
She said the attack made her think that those people are wanting her son to be in the closet.
“My son doesn’t hold back who he is and I think that’s the problem, is he going to feel like he has to hold back from being himself?”
A police spokesperson told The Courier that an assault happened on October 27 and a boy was “subjected to homophobic abuse.”
“Officers are treating the incident as a hate crime and inquiries are continuing,” the spokesperson said.