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A lesbian chef in Charlotte claims she was attacked because of her perceived sexual orientation while walking home from work last Saturday evening. She’s questioning whether anti-LGBT sentiment stirred up by HB 2 played a role, reports The Charlotte Observer.
The woman, whose identity has not been revealed, says she and a co-worker, who is straight, were walking home when a group of six or seven females and one male began yelling at them. The women made disparaging comments about her appearance and her sexual orientation, asking her if she was a ‘stud,’ or a masculine-looking lesbian.
The victim tried to ignore the insults, which grew worse, with one woman calling her a “faggot” and a “queer.” The man in the group approached her, saying, “Let me ask you a question.”
The woman who had been hurling the epithets at the chef then pounced, screaming, “You’re fucking going to die!” She then knocked the victim to the ground and kicked her in the ribs.
When her co-worker pulled the attacker off, a second woman punched the co-worker in the face. The co-worker told the Observer that the group never made disparaging comments to her, only to the victim about her perceived sexuality.
“They didn’t say anything about me,” the co-worker said. “The only reason we got attacked is because she is gay. It’s a straight-up hate crime.”
Police have since arrested two teenage girls and charged them with misdemeanor assault. They were released from prison on Tuesday and are now in the custody of family members.
The victim says she is used to being subjected to anti-gay rhetoric, but had never been attacked prior to Saturday. She also noted that the incidences of anti-gay rhetoric have increased since the passage of HB 2, which prohibited localities from passing their own LGBT-inclusive civil rights ordinances, as Charlotte did earlier this year.
The victim said it’s almost as if the passage of HB 2 has emboldened people to lash out against LGBT people in violent or hateful ways.
“It’s terrible to live that way, to live in such fear,” her co-worker told the Observer about her concern for the victim. “Now it’s like, when will it happen again?”
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