• 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
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 () »

French minister Royal denies ban on cleavage
Ségolène Royal has reportedly banned women in her ministry from wearing low cut tops at work. Photo: Alain Jocard/AFP

French minister Royal denies ban on cleavage

Ségolène Royal, France’s new minister for the environment has been forced to deny reports on Thursday that she had introduced some strict new rules for her staff, including a ban on women wearing low cut tops at work. READ () »

France and Canada renew feud over islands
St Pierre in the French archipelago of Saint-Pierre-et-Miquelon, off the coast of Canada, which disputes France's claim on the island. Photo: Jean-Christophe L'Espagnol

France and Canada renew feud over islands

A longstanding feud over two French islands near Canada's Atlantic Coast was rekindled this week, when Ottawa contested Paris's request that the UN recognize its control of waters around Saint-Pierre-and-Miquelon READ () »

Marijuana: 'Young adults risk fatal heart problems'
A study by French researchers concluded that young adults who smoke marijuana may increase risk of heart problems. Robyn Beck/AFP

Marijuana: 'Young adults risk fatal heart problems'

Young adults who smoke marijuana may be at risk of serious or even fatal heart problems, according to a study by French researchers published this week. The findings raise new concerns about the safety of marijuana. READ () »

Syrian refugees set up home in Paris park
Syrian refugees children and women sit on April 21, 2014 in the Edouard Vaillant parc in Saint-Ouen, north of Paris. Photo: Joel Saget/AFP

Syrian refugees set up home in Paris park

Around 150 Syria refugees are living a desperate existence in a small park to the north of Paris. NGOs and France's Green party are urging authorities to do more to help the families while they wait for their asylum requests to be processed. READ () »

French foot licker jailed for attack on elderly lady
A French fetishist got 18 months behind bars for a foot-licking attack on an elderly woman. File photo: Twon/Flickr

French foot licker jailed for attack on elderly lady

A French fetishist was so smitten with an elderly lady’s feet he burst into the terrified woman's home and lunged at her trotters, which he then proceeded to sniff, lick and rub. The lewd act cost him 18 months behind bars. READ () »

Wolves continue their advance on Paris
Wolves are getting closer to Paris, but they won't be biting Parisians anytime soon. Hopefully. Photo ErranAT/flickr

Wolves continue their advance on Paris

The contentious issue of wolves in France was once again in the spotlight this week after one of the predators was captured on camera for the first time within 250 km of Paris. An expert says they will come even closer but thankfully "they won't be biting Parisians". READ () »

France unveils raft of reforms to boost jobs
France says its economy will grow despite billions of euros in planned budget cuts. Photo: Euros.

France unveils raft of reforms to boost jobs

France laid out a new package of reforms on Wednesday to respect EU rules, cut spending, boost jobs and put its economy in shape to compete on world markets. READ () »

North Koreans snubbed by French cheese college
Kim Jong-un's bid to send two North Koreans to learn how to make French cheese has been refused by a prestigious French college. Photos: Zennie62/Amandabhslater/Flickr

North Koreans snubbed by French cheese college

A bid by North Korea to send experts to a prestigious French cheese-making training school, seemingly at the behest of its fromage-loving leader King Jong-un, has been rejected. It did not fit with the institution's "priorities or strategy", it seems. READ () »

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
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)
National
Paris cops told to ‘purge’ Roma from posh neighbourhood
Advertisement:
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!
Society
Only in France? Gourmet pensioners party lands village in hot water
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