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DETROIT –Sunday at Motor City Pride, a 20-year-old man fell victim to a hate crime for being a member of the LGBT community, according to reports by WXYZ. Between The Lines joins the local media in search of those who took part in this attack.
Christin Howard, a hairstylist, walked away from the traumatic event but is suffering from bruises, abrasions and a broken finger. He will not be able to return to work until his hand has healed.
The attack started with verbal assaults and escalated into physical violence with all the men pushing Howard to the ground, each taking turns on Howard as he lay helpless.
“Violence directed at LGBT people because they are LGBT is disproportionately high in this country, and LGBT people of color are at an even higher risk of more brutal and vicious attacks,” Director of Victim Services at Equality Michigan, Yvonne Siferd said. “It never ceases to amaze me that others are so concerned with how we live our lives that they feel emboldened to violently attack us for simply being ourselves. Our eleted officials can send a powerful message that this type of hate is not tolerated in Michigan by speaking out against attacks like these and amending Michigan’s hate crimes law to include LGBT victims.”
He was walking along Detroit’s Riverwalk when a group of five to eight men, none of whom have been identified yet, attacked him, beat him to the ground and then left. This is the first instance of a hate crime reported at Motor City Pride since it was moved into Hart Plaza four years ago.
The entire incident lasted less than two minutes, but Howard says he is shaken and is skeptical if he will return to Pride next year, worried the same perpetrators will be there.
WXYZ reports that the attack was unprovoked and started with comments about Howard’s long hair, escalating into homophobic slurs and violent threats. The Howard family has requested that any and all media inquiries be directed to Equality Michigan.
If you recognize any of the abusers in the video, please contact the Detroit Police Department.