Josh Ormrod is a music student from Buxton, living in Liverpool, and he is bisexual. In the early hours of 17 June, he was beaten up outside a bar in the city.
“It’s 2021, things are supposed to be better for us now,” says 19-year-old Josh Ormrod.
The horrific photos Josh shared of his injuries, posted on Instagram a day later, have been liked more than 350,000 times.
“This isn’t about me. I wasn’t sharing it for my own gain,” he told Radio 1 Newsbeat.
“I was sharing it so that other people are made aware of what’s happening to our community, and so that our community knows to be more careful than they usually would have to be.
“It is personal in a way, but it’s also completely the opposite.”
Protest held over homophobic attacks in city.
Josh says CCTV footage from the night shows him exchange words with a man on the street, who then turns around and attacks him. He says his attacker called him a homophobic slur.
“A 26-year-old man from Bolton was arrested on suspicion of Section 47 assault,” says a statement from Merseyside Police. ”He has since been released under investigation pending further enquiries.”
But it is not just Josh. He is one of several young LGBT men who have been attacked in Liverpool in the past month.
Curtis Stewart was attacked by a man on 14 June, and Tyler Jones says his attackers used homophobic language and pulled a knife before assaulting him and two gay male friends, earlier this month.
And Greg Hewitt told the BBC North West his leg was fractured in a recent attack.
“The incidents we have seen in the city in recent weeks have understandably caused anger and some fear among those communities targeted with homophobic and transphobic abuse,” Superintendent Sarah Kenwright said in a statement.
“It is heartening to see so many speak in solidarity with the victims, and to say with a united voice that such behaviour simply has no place in Merseyside.”
Several arrests have been made by Merseyside Police in the past month, but so far, no charges have been brought.
Josh says he has “no complaints” about how the police have handled his case.
‘More has to be done.’
But he does want more done to protect other LGBT people from experiencing what he, Curtis, Tyler, and Greg have been through.
“People need to be aware that these things still happen to us on a scarily regular basis,” he says.
“More must be done to change that, because otherwise it will never stop, and we will never feel safe.
“This spate of attacks seems to be very much a random occurrence, but it can’t be coincidental.”
He wants more legislation on “what defines a hate crime” so they are not classed as assault.
Because of these attacks, Merseyside Police has stepped up police patrols in Liverpool city centre.