D.C. anti-gay crimes growing, but so is victims' resolve
For eight long days, a 29-year-old assault victim was in the hospital, his jaw broken and his chin in pieces, and all of it allegedly because he was gay.
The man's story - he has asked to remain anonymous - is just one of many tales that are part of a disturbing, increasing trend of attacks against gay men.
"I do have the fear that maybe whoever did this might have intentions of finishing the job," he said.
The Columbia Heights resident says while walking only a block from his Northwest D.C. Home earlier this month, he was attacked from behind by at least three men while they hurled homophobic slurs at him repeatedly.
"They wrapped by bag around me twice," he said. "They dragged me. They pulled my jacket over my head and they were just kicking at me."
It wasn't over. After his initial attackers fled, he says that just minutes later, another group of people beat him and robbed him.
"It's depressing in the fact that people don't have that kind of thought that someone is on the street bloodied and beaten," he said.
No arrests have been made in this attack.
His attack came only a day after 31-year-old Dante Thomas was shot at the nearby IHOP on 14th Street. The alleged shooter in that case was taken into custody earlier this week.
While all the victims remain surprised at the level of violence unleashed upon them, they all believe they must speak out, lest intolerance continue to fester in dark corners.
"I think a lot of people turn a blind eye to it," he said. "It's us fighting for our own rights."
Leaders within the LGBT community say that these attacks have jump-started a movement that will take on a more formal structure in the coming months. They hope to create more unity between gay and straight communities as their voices get louder.