Gerald Pereira recovering from the attack on Sunday morning
A man was beaten after defending his boyfriend from a group of homophobic thugs in Johannesburg early on Sunday morning.
Gerald Pereira and Stephan Annandale attended the ‘Strawberry Tik’ party at the Capitol venue in Rosebank on Saturday night.
The gay-friendly party had a cross-dressing theme and Annandale was dressed as Marilyn Monroe while Pereira was wearing an ‘afro’ wig.
When the couple left the event at around 2am they decided to purchase boerewors rolls from a vendor across the road, but first left their wigs at their car which was parked nearby.
As they were eating on the side of the road, four or five men walked past. One called out to Annandale, asking “why are you wearing a dress?”
According to Pereira, he replied, “maybe he likes it,” to which the men responded with anti gay slurs.
“They said you’re a bunch of fags’”, Pereira told Mambaonline. Angry, Pereira shouted to the men to “fuck off”. He claims that one man ran towards him and punched him in the face.
“He was wearing a ring and he basically scraped my left shoulder, hit me in the jaw and came across my lip – and ripped up my lip. You could see the profile of the ring on my lip,” he said.
The man walked back to his friends leaving Pereira stunned. A police vehicle happened to turn onto the street and a bloody Pereira ran to the car to report the incident.
“I knocked on the window of the passenger side. At first the policeman ignored me but eventually he opened the window. I said ‘listen these guys assaulted me and are walking away’. I told them that I wanted to lay assault charges against them,” explained Pereira.
He said that the policeman “just shrugged and then eventually drove towards [the men]. They stopped the car next to them.”
Disturbingly, Pereira alleges that after speaking to the men for a few seconds, the police officers simply drove off.
“I wanted to get their license plate, but I couldn’t, they were too far away,” said Pereira.
Now angry that there might be no way to bring the men to justice, thanks to the indifference of the police, Pereira walked towards the group and questioned why they had attacked him.
“Then the guys were ready to start fighting me again. They were hurling verbal abuse, saying ‘These guys fuck themselves in the ass. These guys have HIV.’ Thank god for the security guards and card guards who held them back,” said Pereira.
Pereira, who is not HIV positive, taunted the men that he was positive simply to scare them from hitting him again. The ploy worked and they walked off.
“I didn’t think to go the hospital. I just wanted to get home. On Sunday morning my lip was swollen and still bleeding and my jaw had locked, so I went to Morningside clinic and had x-rays, but there was no fracture.”
Pereira admits that unless CCTV footage of the incident is found, it’s unlikely that his attacker will be identified. He says that the thing that has angered him the most about the experience was the disinterest by the police officers, which he says he also encountered at the Rosebank Police Station when laying an assault charge.
He has also lodged a formal complaint with the station, which is a block away from the scene of the incident, about the conduct of its officers. Mambaonline has contacted the Rosebank Police Station and the SAPS spokesperson for comment and is awaiting a response.
“I was never before outspoken about being gay. My take has always been is that it’s not anybody’s business, but after being attacked, it makes me want to go to every person I know and say ‘this is me and this is my boyfriend,’” said a passionate Pereira.
“The thing is, what people don’t know and understand is what they fear and it becomes an excuse to hate and ridicule people. And people like me who aren’t overtly gay, who don’t live openly gay lives every day, they give people like this guy an excuse to get away with it.
“They won’t realise that we are their neighbours, their family. People don’t know who we are and we need to be in their face every day,” added Pereira.