By Daniel Reynolds
Originally published on Advocate.com February 07 2014 4:14 PM ET
A second student from a Minnesota school district has come forward about antigay threats he recieved after coming out.
Noah Ratgen, who is enrolled in the eighth grade in the Centennial School District, told local news station KMSP-TV that he received an intimidating message after coming out several months ago.
A week after Ratgen had come out to his classmates via social media last fall, Ratgen says he discovered that his family’s driveway had been graffitied with the words, “God hates fags.”
"It hurt — just like calling someone fat or ugly," said Ratgen, sitting between his parents in their home in Lino Lakes, Minn. "There's no reason to do it at all."
"I just don't understand why we're such a big problem," he said.
Ratgen’s parents expressed outrage and concern over the act of vandalism. "It was absolutely disgusting. I went and washed it off right away,” said his father, Brad Ratgen. His mother, Carla Ratgen, added, "I'm really hoping it's a few bad people — a few bad apples who are doing this... It's kind of sad to do something so mean to our kids."
The family filed a report with the police at the time. No arrests have been made, but the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension has classified the act as a hate crime.
Ratgen's story mirrors that of another gay student at Centennial High School, Ryan Eichenauer, who spoke out yesterday after he received two anonymous letters filled with death threats. The messages, which were left on his desk in English class, followed his own coming out on Facebook. And like Ratgen's graffiti, Eichenauer's threats also conflated religon and hate.
"I can't wait for the day that I get to walk over your grave and if you don't put yourself there, I will be glad to," a portion of one of the letters read. "Just do us all a favor and do it soon. Kill yourself already."
Watch the KMSP interview with Noah Ratgen and his parents below.