A French same-sex couple received an ominous letter telling them to leave their home in Marseilles.
One of the men, David, discovered a handwritten "first warning" underneath his car's windshield Thursday as he went to leave for work.
"Could you please leave the residence because we know that you homosexuals are the first to be contaminated by COVID-19," the note read, according to Têtu, an LGBTQ French news magazine.
“This is the first warning. Thank you.”
Upon discovering the letter, the 33-year-old and his partner attempted to report the incident to police. However, officials initially dismissed the action as "not a threat but a warning." After taking their story to social media, the LGBTQ division of the Bordeaux police department reached out to the couple and opened an investigation.
David and his partner live in a "secure residence" — meaning access to the car was limited to those who live in their building. He thinks the handwriting belongs to a neighbor who had previously filed a complaint against a Muslim couple. Officials said they would attempt to analyze the letter for its writing and possiblly DNA.
David told Têtu he is "not reassured."
"I look a little more behind me," he said. "My spouse has a strong character, he is rather fiery. I'm pretty calm. I wonder what it will be next time. Are they going to smash my car? Are they going to wait for me downstairs?"
LGBTQ people are an at-risk group for the novel coronavirus for a variety of reasons — perceived stigma in the health industry, for instance, is a barrier to receiving care. However, they are not "contaminated" by the virus, which has impacted people of every race, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and age group in at least 178 nations.
Regardless, stigma against minority groups, including people of Asian descent, has spiked during the epidemic. Several right-wing religious leaders have also wrongfully blamed LGBTQ people for the spread of the virus. A new report from the Southern Poverty Law Center also saw a rise in the number of hate groups in the United States. In 2019, there were 70, an increase in 43 percent from the prior year.