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A gay man in Ireland celebrating his birthday with friends was sent to the hospital following a violent homophobic attack early Sunday morning.
Mark Sheehan, 26, said he and his friends were on the Number 15 Dublin Bus around 4 a.m. on August 14 when a group of young teens and men boarded the bus. The group sat behind Sheehan and his friends and immediately subjected them to antigay slurs like "'queer' 'emo freak' 'f*gg*t' to name a few," Sheehan wrote in a post on Facebook describing the incident.
Sheehan told the Irish Examiner he and his friends decided to get off the bus and take a taxi the rest of the way home. The taunts continued before the next stop, though, and Sheehan eventually turned and told the group to act their age. He said one of the group threatened to "smash my face in" in response, while another kicked a pair of headphones from his friend's hands.
As he and his friends tried to disembark the bus, Sheehan said one of the group charged and headbutted him, leaving him dazed and bloodied with an injured nose.
"When I came to a few seconds later, there was just blood leaking down," Sheehan told the Examiner. "I could feel just the blood leaking over my lip and down onto my shoes."
The group disembarked the bus, and Sheehan was taken to a local hospital. He received stitches and will return later for an x-ray to determine if his nose is broken. The Gardai Irish police force told the Examiner they have excellent CTV footage of the incident, and Sheehan said multiple witnesses have also come forward.
This is not the first violent attack on a member of the LGBTQ+ community in Ireland recently. A gay rugby player was left with a shattered ankle and a dangerous eye injury following a homophobic attack in Dublin on April 10 this year. Evan Somer, 23, later revealed the injuries were so severe they may threaten his playing career.
"Last night a stranger called me a f*gg*t before beating the shit out of me," Somers tweeted from the hospital after the attack. "He left me with a fractured eye socket, 2 fractures in my ankle, a dislocation in my ankle & some other minor injuries."
\u201cLast night a stranger called me a faggot before beating the shit out of me. He left me with a fractured eye socket, 2 fractures in my ankle, a dislocation in my ankle & some other minor injuries. We\u2019ve come a long way but still have such a long way to go in terms of equality.\u201d— Evan (@Evan) 1649614745
In a later post to Facebook, Sheehan thanked the community for the outpouring of support and affirmation. He also had a message for his attackers.
"They were very very stupid to do this, on a bus with cameras and witnesses no less," Sheehan posted. "Justice will happen."