Straight Man Attacked in Omaha for Defending Gay Friends
A straight man from Omaha, Neb., says he was beaten last weekend after defending his gay friends, one of whom was in drag, after they were harassed at a restaurant, reports WOWT, NBC's Omaha affiliate station.
Ryan Langenegger told the station that his two friends, Josh Foo and Jacob Gellinger, who was in drag, were eating at Pepperjax Grill around 2 a.m. on Saturday when a group of men started harassing them.
"We were eating and there was three guys watching us and one of them stepped up and was a foot or two away from my friend [Gellinger] and he just kept saying should I should I?" Langenegger said.
Gellinger told the men he is aware he is a "boy in a dress." According to Langenegger, the men told Gellinger: "Yeah, you're disgusting and more colorful language and insisted on using more derogatory toward my two friends." The men also used gay slurs towards the friends.
The three friends decided to leave the restaurant but Langenegger claims the group of men followed them outside to the parking lot and cut them off, blocking them from leaving the restaurant.
"I stepped in and said hey we aren't looking for any trouble and as I'm talking to him one of his friends from the corner of my eye comes up and hits me in the face and I stand up and he also swings at my other friend and misses and I just look at him and say why? There's no reason fro this," Langenegger told WOWT.
Langenegger suffered bruising on his face, two chipped teeth and a gash in his forehead. He is currently recovering from the injuries.
"I see this happen all the time with my friends and it's really sickening it's 2013, we live in Omaha, a lot of people don't realize that this stuff is going on and it's just not right, and I'm just not going to stand by and watch my friends and pretty much family get degraded its just not right," he told WOWT.
Foo said he is appreciative and that Langenegger defending him and Gellinger "means so much to me." Gellinger echoed Foo's sentiments.
The friends, who are calling the incident a hate crime, hope the restaurant's surveillance cameras caught the attackers or that the suspects' credit card information can be used to find them.
Nebraska does not have any discrimination laws protecting LGBT people and same-sex marriage is not recognized in the state.