Although June is considered Pride month in many cities around the globe, three gay men in Columbus, Ohio — traditionally a progressive, LGBT-friendly city — found that some people were more interested in spreading hate.
Christopher Ashcraft (pictured), Chris Kratavil and David Conley have been the victims of separate attacks in Columbus within a period of four days. Outlook Columbus reports Ashcraft, visiting from Kentucky, was approached on June 6 by men who asked him to help jump-start their car.
“Once I was on the ground, they just kicked me in the face a couple times until I was unconscious,” he told a reporter for a local ABC station. “It was my guess an hour to an hour-and-a-half later before I woke up and, from what I’m told, crawled back to the bar where I was found laying behind the bar.”
Sgt. Richard Weiner, a spokesman for Columbus Police, says the victim didn’t indicate the attackers used of antigay language. Ashcraft, however, has insisted he was targeted due to his sexual orientation. “It was a hate crime,” Ashcraft said. “I was hanging out at a gay bar. It’s Pride Month.”
Kratavil was punched, beaten and kicked from behind June 9 and sustained injuries that required treatment in the hospital.
“He has a black belt,” said Robert Younkman, a friend of Kratavil’s. “If it had been a fair fight, it would have been a little more interesting. They would have picked the wrong little gay boy to pick on.”
Conley was attacked June 10 and has stated that when a group of men approached him from behind and made vulgar comments. He immediately called 911, and he was on the phone with the dispatcher as they hit him with a piece of wood. Three men were arrested by police.
With Columbus Pride is scheduled for June 21- 22, Gloria McCauley, executive director of BRAVO, the Buckeye Region Anti-Violence Organization, has stated that hate crimes aren’t unusual this time of year. “We’re so out and proud in June, and people are out there who don’t like it,” she said.
That’s not to suggest there’s complacency to the spate of hate crimes directed at LGBT people in other cities around the world. As always, the community was quick to offer support to the victims. A Facebook page has been created to encourage LGBT people and allies to wear pink this Friday to show solidarity with the three men.