An incident that occurred last week has proven that the bigotry and homophobia surrounding Donald Trump and his supporters extends beyond U.S. borders. Two gay men were attacked at a McDonald’s in Sydney, Australia, by a homophobic Trump supporter, the Star Observer reports.
The men, Sam and Andrew, whose names have been changed out of respect for their privacy, were standing in line to order their food when they were accosted by an intoxicated man who was rambling about President-elect Trump’s recent victory.
Sam told the Star Observer that he was “horrified” by the offensive things the man was saying, including, “white men rule now that Trump has won.”
Sam then informed the man that he was gay and asked if he had a problem with that. The news caused the man to change his statement to “Trump’s won, straight white men rule.” The man then became physically aggressive and had to be dragged out of the restaurant by his friends while he shouted at Sam and Andrew.
Obviously troubled by the experience, Sam and Andrew attempted to just take their food and return home. However, the man was waiting for them outside.
“I couldn’t believe it, he’d been waiting outside to pounce on me,” Sam said. “He hit me on the head, and because I’m a pretty big guy, I went down hard — immediately there was blood everywhere.”
The attacker then turned on Andrew, who had been attempting to find a ride for himself and Sam. Andrew fought back, and he described his feelings as he fought as follows:
‘When I fought back I didn’t feel so defeated in a way, I remember thinking to myself there are so many LGBTI people that have been killed by people like this, and I almost wanted to hit him back for those people.’
The attacker was restrained by his friends, who attempted to drag him away from the scene. Local police caught them before they could get away, though, and thanks to surveillance footage of the attack, the man responsible, along with one of his friends, has been charged and will appear in court in a couple of weeks.
Sam told the Star Observer that he wants his and Andrew’s experience to serve as a warning to the LGBTI community.
“Don’t just assume it’s 2016 and everything’s OK, because clearly what’s happening in the world is affecting people’s judgment and mentality,” he said. “I think in the LGBTI community we need to check in with each other and make sure we talk more about these things.”
Sam also wants to ensure that other members of the LGBTI community understand how to respond to situations like the one he and Andrew found themselves in.
“I’ve been out in the community for over 20 years and even though I know how to operate in the gay community I honestly feel like there should be a course,” he said. “For instance, teaching us what to do if someone is spouting homophobic abuse, or if someone is trying to attack you.”
Andrew, who agreed with Sam’s sentiments, said that he was shocked to have been assaulted as he was in 2016.
“When you’re hearing that 72 percent of the population want marriage equality, but we’re still getting bashed, it’s horrific,” he said.
It is attacks like this one that have so many people — both in the United States and abroad — concerned about what the future holds for them with Donald Trump as president. Trump may have told his supporters to “stop it” with the harassment, but they don’t seem to be listening.
Featured image via Jessica Rinaldi/The Boston Globe via Getty Images.