Police are investigating an alleged Oct. 6 assault on a Pennsylvania-based gay man and his boyfriend as a possible hate crime.
As CBS reports, Ben Stoviak and his boyfriend Aaron were leaving Remedy Bar in Pittsburgh, Penn. when a group of men allegedly began yelling homophobic and derogatory comments at the couple. Stoviak contextualized the event in a post on his Facebook page:
Last night, a group of men attacked me and my boyfriend on Butler Street in Lawrenceville. After yelling, from across the street, "Faggot!" at us, I replied, "yes, we're faggots!" Immediately after, the group of men ran across the street and began hitting, kicking, and stomping me. The mark on my right cheek is a bootprint. Aaron threw himself on top of me to discourage them from continuing the assault, but they began kicking him in the head, as well...
I don't ask you to cheer on my romantic and sexual lives. I do, however, expect people not to act violently against one another because they do not share tastes and preferences.
A group of patrons from a neighboring bar called authorities when they witnessed the alleged violent attack occurring in front of Remedy. When police arrived, Stoviak was reportedly bloodied with multiple welts and bruises covering his face, according to WXPI.
Stoviak also clarified in his Facebook post that three of his attackers had been arrested since the assault.
Stoviak reportedly believes that the attack only occurred because him and his partner were being affectionate with one another, and wants police to treat the case as a hate crime.
High-visibility violence targeting LGBT individuals has seen a sharp increase over the course of 2013 in both larger metropolitan areas and smaller city settings. Last week, a Brooklyn resident who identifies as straight was attacked blocks from his home in an alleged hate crime merely because he was perceived to be gay.
This summer, New York has also bore witness to a man assaulted outside of a popular gay bar, a group of Knicks fans attacking a gay couple, a gay couple ambushed in Chelsea while walking home, in addition to the beating and subsequent death of a transgender woman and alleged anti-gay police brutality in Brooklyn. In all, former New York mayoral candidate Christine Quinn reportedly stated that year-to-year numbers evidence an expected 70 percent spike in anti-LGBT hate crimes over the course of 2013.
Of course, the attacks weren't limited to New York. A mob attacked a gay man outside of a bar in Cleveland last month, a gay Denver man needed reconstructive eye surgery following an alleged hate crime, and a Texas man was horrifically beaten after being lured to meet a connection established through a popular social networking site -- all during the month of September.
Stoviak's friends stated that they are outraged over what happened early Monday morning. "It makes me sick to my stomach. I feel rage,” claimed Andrew Henderson. "It’s just sad. It’s really sad. We just can’t be who we are in our own neighborhood."
The police report of the indecent is available on the Delta Foundation of Pittsburgh's Facebook page.