Ryan Langenegger, a 22-year-old straight Marine, was punched in the face outside an Omaha eatery early Sunday morning after he stood up to three men who were harassing his gay friends, one of whom was in drag, reports the Omaha World-Herald.
Langenegger and his friends, Joshua Foo and Jacob Gellinger, were grabbing a bite to eat at PepperJax restaurant in Omaha's Old Market neighborhood after attending a nearby drag show, in which Gellinger performed. As the friends were dining, they said, three men approached them and began staring at Gellinger. That's when the friends decided to leave the restaurant.
But the assailants followed them out, stepping between the trio and their car, repeatedly saying "Should I?"
That's when Gellinger said "I know, I am a boy in a dress," according to the World-Herald.
"Yeah, and you're disgusting," replied the harasser, before hurling antigay slurs at the men.
"I stepped in and said, 'Hey we aren’t looking for any trouble,'" Langenegger told Omaha's WOWT. "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. 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.'"
Langenegger says he didn't fight back but did suffer a bruised eye, two chipped teeth, and a lacerated forehead. The attackers began laughing and walked away, according to the World-Herald.
Foo called 911, and Langenegger filed a police report and spoke with a detective, reports the paper. He says the beating was worth it to stand up for his friends. "Hopefully more people realize this is a problem," Langenegger told the World-Herald. "People need to be more accepting of everyone."
LGBT advocates, including some of the drag queens who performed at the show the friends attended Saturday night, are organizing a peaceful march through Old Market on Saturday afternoon, called "Drag Out Hate!"
"I wanted to show in broad daylight that there is nothing to feat about gay people and there is nothing disgusting about drag," Chad Bugge, a drag queen known as Anna Roxia who is helping organize the rally at 4 p.m. on Saturday, told the World-Herald. "Drag is fun and it has been the source of entertainment for the gay community for years."
Watch WOWT's report below.