By Chris Jai Centeno
Originally published on Advocate.com August 25 2009 3:25 PM ET
Minnesota homeowner Ross Sveback says he is still shaken after his home was vandalized with antigay graffiti earlier this month.
"To be honest, I am scared," Sveback told Advocate.com in a phone interview. "I have a hard time sleeping at night. If I see a car parked outside of the house, I'm in a panic. I'm scared but I don't want them to know I'm scared, you know what I mean?"
Sveback and his sister woke up on the morning of August 16 to discover large green scrawls of the words "HIV," "AIDS," "gay," and "help" on the exterior of his house. Sveback, 40, said the vandalism is unprecedented in his quiet suburban neighborhood located about 25 miles from Minneapolis.
Police have neither called any suspects for questioning nor charged anyone with the crime, although Sveback believes that there is a "person of interest" in the incident.
The Afton, Minn.–based entrepreneur owns a lifestyle and entertainment company called Kon-tent and has appeared on local television stations offering cooking and recipe tips. Sveback, who is developing a lifestyle television show in Minneapolis, was sidelined from speaking in public or to the press about the crime.
"I didn't want to be bullied or threatened by other people, but my safety was called into question, and [that of] my daughters," Sveback said, adding that his 13-year-old daughter also lives with him. "I have to risk anything to stand up for what I believe in. People are not supposed to be treated this way. I just want people to know to stand up regardless of whether they are scared. Some people will need to shame you, but we cannot be shamed just because we're gay."