Hundreds attend mass sing-along in Manchester after violent homophobic attack

Hundreds gathered to show their support to the two men who were attacked by a homophobic gang. Credit: Manchester’s Lesbian and Gay Chorus

Hundreds of people turned up to a mass sing-along in Manchester after two young gay men were violently attacked for singing songs on a tram.

The Manchester Lesbian and Gay Chorus organised the "Safe to Sing" event on the city's trams in response to the "vicious attack".

The group performed songs from West Side Story and Petula Clark's 1964 hit 'Downton', before ending the event with a rendition of 'Gravity' from Wicked in Piccadilly Gardens, where Jean-Claude Manseau and Jake Heaton were attacked two weeks ago.

Manseau, 25, and Heaton, 19, were singing songs from the musical Wicked on a tram two weeks ago when a man began to shout homophobic abuse at them.

The two friends were then attacked in Picacadilly Gardens by a gang of men.

Manseau was knocked unconscious and suffered head injuries in the attack.

The 25-year-old told Manchester Evening News that the attack has "destroyed every bit of confidence" he had and he was unsure when he will feel safe enough to go into Manchester again.

Neither victim attended the event, but Manseau's mother said she was moved to tears by the reaction.

"To think that all these people have come out tonight for my son," Jacqueline Nield told the Guardian.

"It’s just a pity the rest of the world isn’t so kind.”

Ms Nield said her son was still "in a bad way", but was touched by the support.