A Denver gay couple was stabbed multiple times because they were holding hands.
Gabriel Roman and his boyfriend Christopher Huizar were enjoying a night out with friends when they were approached by a man yelling homophobic slurs at them just after midnight on Sunday, they claim.
In a matter of seconds, the man repeatedly stabbed both men as they tried to to run to safety. They were left with serious injuries. Huizar thinks the attack was triggered by the fact he and Roman were holding hands.
“There was blood everywhere, like so much blood,” he said.
According to Fox31, the pair were only a few blocks from home when a man addressed them with homophobic slurs, before running after them with his weapon.
“I remember him pulling me back and I think that’s when I got stabbed in my back,” recalled Roman.
Roman suffered deep stab wounds in his back and hand, while Huizar was stabbed in the throat.
“We’re running and I didn’t realise how bad it was until he’s like, ‘My hand!’ and that’s when I took my shirt off and I wrapped it around and there was blood everywhere, like so much blood,” said Huizar.
In the moment, the pair feared for both their lives.
“I’m thinking like, my boyfriend is going to die,” Huizar added.
The two finally managed to escape and collapsed in a 7/11 parking lot. Bystanders attended to their wounds and contacted 911.
Their attacker was eventually caught by the Denver police. Although he was arrested, they are still investigating the charges.
For Roman and Huizar, the wound runs deeper than the scars. Being attacked in their neighbourhood forced them to look at their community in a new, scary light.
“It’s way deeper than just the physical damage,” said Roman. “Of course we’re relieved this guy is caught or whatever, but there’s still that fright […] who else is out there like that?”
“It’s not going to stop me from being who I am or showing affection to my significant other but I will definitely be more cautious,” Roman added.
“We are not letting his define us. We love each other and wouldn’t want this to happen to anyone [else]. I’m just thankful we’re alive,” Huizar told the Gay Star News.
Roman and Huizar believe the ordeal will make them stronger as a couple.
- A visitor places flowers at a makeshift memorial during a vigil for victims of a shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida the previous day, in front of the United States embassy on June 13, 2016 in Berlin, Germany. (Adam Berry/Getty)
Hate crimes like this one are on the rise in the US. A 2016 FBI report on hate crime statistics showed that while 6,121 hate crimes were reported that year, 1,076 were based on sexual orientation bias. This showed an increase of 2 percent from the 2015 numbers.
124 were based on gender identity bias, targeting trans or non binary individuals, a 9 percent increase from the 2015 numbers.
However, the report noted that these numbers only represented d a portion of the hate crimes that happened that year, as reporting them to the FBI is not compulsory.