'It's 2016 and this is still happening' - Gay man speaks out after shock homophobic attack
A young gay man has spoken out after being a victim of a homophobic hate crime after a night out in Belfast.
James Hall (24) claims he was attacked by a man in an unprovoked incident after he responded to him when he was called an offensive homophobic name in the early hours of Sunday morning.
He says that he was standing at a bar in Little Donegall Street area when two men walked past him and began to call him names.
Mr Hall told the Belfast Telegraph: "Granted because I was drunk, I said to them, 'What's your problem?"
"But just because I said that, one of them came up and literally just started to hit me. Why?"
He says he was beaten about the face and has bruises and cuts around his eyes.
"This just has to stop," added Mr Hall.
"I mean, it's 2016 and this is still happening. It's disgusting.
"Not just to me because I'm gay but all hate crime. This needs to be addressed."
Earlier, Mr Hall had been socialising with friends in the Boom Box mat where met the Hollyoaks star and Blue star Duncan James who was making a personal appearance.
He reported the attack to the police and says he will seek medical help today.
Police have confirmed that they are treating the attack as a hate crime.
Inspector Antony Frazer said: "We are appealing for information following the report of an assault on a man in the Little Donegall Street area of Belfast at approximately 3.00am this morning, Sunday, 16 October.
The PSNI have appealed for anyone with information about the incident to come forward.