A straight Nebraska Marine who stood up for his gay friends was left badly beaten in an assault that police are now considering to be a hate crime.
Ryan Langenegger of Omaha was out to eat with his two friends, Josh Foo and Jacob Gellinger, around 2 a.m. when they started being harassed by a few men. Gellinger was dressed in drag.
“We were eating and there was three guys watching us and one of them stepped up and was a foot or two away from my friend and he just kept saying should I should I?” recalled Langenegger.
Eventually, Gellinger reportedly told the men, “I know I’m a boy in a dress.” The three men responded with derogatory remarks and wouldn’t stop. When Langenegger, Gellinger and Foo decided to leave the restaurant, the three men followed them and tried to block them from getting in their car.
“I stepped in and said, ‘Hey we aren’t looking for any trouble,’ and as I’m talking to him one of his friends from the corner of my eye comes up and hits me in the face,” says Langenegger. “I stand up and he also swings at my other friend and misses and I just look at him and say, ‘Why? There’s no reason for this.’”
As a result of the attack, Langenegger wound up with facial bruising, a couple of chipped teeth, and a large wound on his forehead. He says, however, that it was all worth it.
“I see this happen all the time with my friends and it’s really sickening,” said Langenegger. “It’s 2013, we live in Omaha, a lot of people don’t realize that this stuff is going on and it’s just not right, and I’m just not going to stand by and watch my friends and pretty much family get degraded its just not right.”
Both Gellinger and Foo say they are thankful that Langenegger stood up for them that night. Langenegger has filed a police report, and authorities say they are considering it a hate crime. The three friends hope that surveillance footage along with credit card information given at the restaurant by the perpetrators could be used to help find them.