• France edition
 
Beating reveals 'the face of homophobia' in France
Photo of Wilfred de Bruijn, the victim of an apparent homophobic attack and the anti-gay marriage movement, which has been blamed for a rise in homophobia.

Beating reveals 'the face of homophobia' in France

Published: 08 Apr 2013 13:31 GMT+02:00
Updated: 08 Apr 2013 13:31 GMT+02:00

This is the shocking picture of Wilfred de Bruijn, the apparent victim of a brutal homophobic attack in Paris at the weekend. Gay-rights groups say the on-going protests against gay marriage in France have led to a rise in homophobic acts.

This bruised and bloodied face belongs to Wilfred de Bruijn, the victim of an apparent anti-gay attack in Paris at the weekend, which according to him shows “the face of homophobia” in France.

According to de Bruijn, he was attacked with his boyfriend in the 19th arrondissement of Paris on Saturday night simply because they were gay. France’s gay rights groups say the savage beating comes as homophobic incidents are on the rise.

They blame the increasingly radical and stubborn anti-gay marriage movement.

Hours after being subjected to the beating, De Bruijn put the photo on his Facebook page. It has since been shared thousands of times across social media.

“Sorry to show you this,” the victim wrote. “It’s the face of homophobia. Last night 19th arrondissement, Paris, Olivier and I were badly beaten just for walking arm in arm.

“I woke up in an ambulance covered in blood, missing tooth and broken bones around the eye.

“I’m home now. Very sad.”

It is not certain whether the victim has lodged a complaint with police.

De Bruijn's Facebook page was bombarded with comments from outraged friends. "What a horrible experience, and a disgusting act of hate," one wrote.

The attack has provoked anger among France’s gay community at a time when the country’s Senate is debating the gay marriage bill.

President of gay-rights group SOS Homophobie, Elizabeth Ronzier is clear who is to blame.

“This was a shocking and incredibly violent incident,” Ronzier told The Local. “We have seen a thirty percent rise in the number of homophobic incidents since October. This is a result of the opposition towards the gay marriage bill.

“These people say they are not homophobic but they are. Homophobia has become trivialized, which is proved by the number of verbal assaults on gay people, which often to lead to physical assaults.

At the weekend, the annual Inter LGBT fair, held in the famous Marais district of the capital's fourth arrondissement was targeted by vandals, who are opposing gay-marriage.

Responsibility for the "homophobic attack" (see video) was claimed by “Le Printemps Francais” (French spring), a collective of dissidents who split from the mainstream “Manif pour Tous” anti-gay marriage movement led by French comic Frigide Barjot.

The group published a video of themselves engaging in the vandalism, but later deleted it, though not before a pro-gay marriage activist had been able to republish it (see below).

Le Printemps Français is believed to be made up mainly of hard line Catholics and royalists. Nicolas Gougain, head of Inter LGBT confirmed a complaint had been lodged with police, French daily Le Parisien reported.

“We need the Senate to pass this law quickly so we can finish with this debate,” said Ronzier. “The opposition are creating a lot of noise for nothing because they are not going to change anything.

“The government needs to condemn this aggression against gay people.”

For their part, the “Manif pour Tous” denounced the act of vandalism as well as the attack against Wilfred de Bruijn, but denied their movement was responsible for provoking homophobic acts.

“Groups like SOS Homophobia should be ashamed for trying to blame us for these acts,” Xavier Bongibault, one of the movement’s leaders told The Local on Monday.

“We strongly condemn this act of violence but there is no link whatsoever to the Manif pour Tous. We have said since the beginning that we are not against homosexuals, we are simply against the government’s legislation,” said Bongibault, who himself is gay.

Gay-rights groups are set to hold a protest on Wednesday April 10th in response to the attack against De Bruijn. Representatives from the Manif pour Tous have expressed a desire to join the demonstrators. Whether they will be welcomed or not remains to be seen.

Ben McPartland (ben.mcpartland@thelocal.com)

Don't miss...X
Left Right

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Le Pen's unholy alliance hoping to destroy the EU
France's National Front party is trying to build a European far-right coalition. Photo: Frederick Florin/AFP

Le Pen's unholy alliance hoping to destroy the EU

France’s National Front party is trying to unite a multi-nation, far-right alliance ahead of next month’s crucial European elections. The distinctly anti-EU mob would include Nazi sympathisers, anti-Muslim leaders and fervent nationalists. We take a closer look. READ () »

Chinese crackdown hurts French booze sales
A Chinese crackdown on leaders posh gifts and lavish meals has hurt French booze sales. Photo: Mehdi Fedouach/AFP

Chinese crackdown hurts French booze sales

French booze sales in China have taken a hit after party leaders cracked down on extravagant gift-giving and sumptuous feasts in the wake of several stinging corruption scandals. READ () »

Blood on cloth didn't belong to King Louis XVI
A gourd said to hold the blood of France's last king, Louis XVI, in fact doesn't. Photo: File

Blood on cloth didn't belong to King Louis XVI

Scientists say a morbid souvenir from the execution of France's last king, a cloth dipped in his blood, is a fake. The long controversial keepsake has previously been verified as containing the blood of Louis XVI. READ () »

The view from La Rue
Parisians really are rude to tourists -  true or false?
Is the rude Parisian waiter more of a myth than a reality? We ask tourists visiting Paris to decide. Photo: Fred Dufour/AFP

Parisians really are rude to tourists - true or false?

Almost a year ago it seemed like stories of Parisians being rude to tourists would soon be a thing of the past, when city tourist chiefs published a guide on how to better welcome visitors. The Local took to the streets to see if tourists had noticed a difference. READ () »

France bids to cut EU's reliance on Russian gas
A view of the Russian gas giant Gazprom's recently built Adler thermal power plant. France wants to cut Europe's reliance on Russian gas. Photo: Yuri Kabodnov/AFP

France bids to cut EU's reliance on Russian gas

As the Ukraine crisis intensifes and threatens to divide Russia from the West, France and Poland made a joint call for a European-wide energy union that would help reduce dependence on Russian gas supplies. READ () »

Family pretend to be French to rob jewellers
Pretending to be French to rob a jewellers. That's a new one. Photo: Shutterstock

Family pretend to be French to rob jewellers

A family managed to steal €180,000 worth of jewellery from a plush shop in Milan’s Piazza del Duomo. Their modus operandi: pretending to be French to give off an air of sophistication. READ () »

Neo-Nazi Hitler party shocks French village
Scores of neo-Nazis descended on a tranquil French village. The local mayor had no idea what he had let himself in for. Photo: Scott Olsen/AFP

Neo-Nazi Hitler party shocks French village

The mayor of a small village in eastern France was forced to explain this week how he ended up giving the green light for a neo-Nazi party commemorating the 125th anniversiary of Hitler’s birth. The mayor said he presumed it was just going to be an ordinary birthday party. READ () »

One in five French workers is a civil servant
France's population of civil servants has continued to grow. Photo: Crowd.

One in five French workers is a civil servant

New data out this week shows France’s civil service has continued its nearly unbroken chain of growth since 1980. The figures, however, leave out a whole swath of people who are also on the government payroll. READ () »

French taxi wars: New plan to end bitter feud
A new proposal seeks to end the French taxi war. Photo: Patrick Kovarik/AFP

French taxi wars: New plan to end bitter feud

An eagerly awaited series of proposed reforms were due out on Thursday aimed at ending the ongoing war between highly regulated taxi drivers and private hire car firms, which has wrought havoc on French roads. The proposals seek to make the rules fairer for both sides. READ () »

Ukraine crisis
France to send fighter jets to patrol Baltics
France is to send four fighter jets to patrol over the Baltics, in a show of solidarity as tension mounts of Russia's agression i nthe Ukraine. Photo: Karim Sahib/AFP

France to send fighter jets to patrol Baltics

France is sending four of its fighter jets to patrol over the Baltic states in a symbolic show of solidarity amid growing anxiety in the region over Russia's intervention in Ukraine. President François Hollande is also set to pay a visit to Georgia in the coming weeks. READ () »

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Gallery
The view from La Rue: Are Parisians really that rude to tourists?
National
How to avoid a French wedding nightmare
Opinion
Reader Rants: Why sacked French ministers deserve no pity
Gallery
How well do you know your French text message lingo?
National
Divorced from reality? French plan for puppy custody laws
Travel
'Burgundy is for wine not wind': Will wind farms ruin famous wine region?
National
Why does France have a record number of people behind bars?
Society
VIDEO: Take a look inside Paris’s first luxury hotel for cats
Education
French parents are the most laidback about their kids' education. True?
Tech
What do French TV viewers complain about the most? Yes it's English
Business & Money
French tax declarations: The key points to remember
Gallery
French slang: Everyday words you need to know (but use cautiously)
Advertisement:
National
Paris cops told to ‘purge’ Roma from posh neighbourhood
International
VIDEO: ‘Anti-French’ Cadillac ad sparks anger in France. See why.
Features
Buying property in France? Here's 10 things you need to think about
National
What will the future map of France look like? The answer lies within.
Politics
'The 27 French regions aren't the problem, it's the 36,000 towns'
Culture
Ex underage call girl Zahia picked to embody Marie Antoinette
Gallery
Buying a house in France? Ten things you need to think about
National
France bans work emails after 6pm! Sadly it's not quite true.
Opinion
Reader Rants: Why don't the French do charity? Is it down to taxes?
Society
VIDEO: The Paris zoo is back but this time the animals are in charge
National
This will be the most expensive road in France - Only €1.66bn for 12km!
Sponsored Article
Why it pays to avoid banks when making overseas transfers
Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se