Two gay men were attacked early Sunday morning as they left Club Majestic, a gay bar in Tulsa, Oklahoma, reports FOX 23. The victims believe they were targeted because of their sexual orientation.
"'We asked them if they were going to beat us up because they looked they were, they said no we're just looking for an after party,' [Jerrid, the victim] told FOX23 exclusively. There wasn't an after party. Jerrid, openly gay, says within seconds, both he and his friend were punched. Jerrid was knocked unconscious. Less than 48 hours after the incident, it's easy to see his scars, a busted lip and swollen face. For him, it is also easy to see that this was a hate crime. 'They were standing outside of a gay bar, and for them to exit their vehicle, their vehicle to go around the building, for them to pick them up after they punched us both, that's kind of a sign right there that something was going on.'"
In April, a 24-year-old Tulsa-area man was repeatedly harassed, attacked, robbed and beaten by neighbors because he is gay. The man was even punched in the face while taking out the trash.
Oklahoma's hate crimes law does not include sexual orientation or gender identity. Earlier this year, extreme anti-gay Republican state senators proposed to exempt the Sooner State from the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Act. The hate crimes exclusion bill overwhelmingly passed the Senate 39-6 but later died in a House committee. Democratic Rep. Mike Shelton, one of the leaders of the Oklahoma Legislative Black Caucus, "personally took charge of 'the bill to kill it'."
Toby Jenkins, Director of Oklahomans for Equality, says a person is "assaulted on average once a week based on their sexual orientation", but most victims report do not report the crimes. "When will our legislators give us a hate crimes law that includes people who were victims based on their sexual orientation or their gender expression?" Jenkins asked.