A CHARITY boss has been left shocked by a spate of homophobic attacks.

Alan Flack, of the charity the Rainbow Hub, said a series of assaults on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people in Brighton’s St James’s Street shows there is still much work to be done to tackle hate crime in the city.

Alan said one man had been admitted to intensive care ward after a violent robbery in Kemp Town.

He said: “To this day we’re not sure if they specifically targeted gay people or if it was just about robbery.

“About seven incidents were reported to the police.

“It really took us by surprise. I’ve never seen attacks like that in such a short space of time.

“We all think of Brighton as being open and having pride but there’s actually an underbelly to the city.”

Alan said he set up the Rainbow Hub six months ago to connect LGBT people suffering from abuse with organisations that can help them.

He said: “There are hundreds of charities that can help, and hundreds of people who need help, but they can’t find each other.

“The idea is to have take that sort of thing to us and then we can direct them to the right charities.

“We can’t sort it in a day, but we help a good proportion of the people that come in here.

“If someone has been abused, they come to us and we go with them to report it to the police or we do it for them.

“That’s we we’re set up for. It has been a good experiment so far.

“Still, the fact we have had to open this place up in 2019 is quite sad.”

Alan said Brighton’s transgender population was at particular risk of abuse, adding that the community is “20 years behind” the struggle for gay rights.

“They’re struggling with acceptance and recognition.

“It hits them harder because we’re still on the fringe of society.

“Humans are generally scared of things they don’t understand.

“A lot of people don’t understand the trans experience, they see a man in a dress and they think it’s funny, when really it’s self-expression.

“They should become aware of the pain these people have to go through.”

Alan said the best advice for LGBT people suffering from abuse is to find safety and get help.

He said: “First of all, abuse comes in many forms.

“It could be verbal or physical, from a relative, a partner, or a parent.

“The first thing is to find some safety and report it to the police. If you come to us, we’re the experts who know where to send you.”