A gay Ohio couple targeted in an anti-gay attack has used their temporary public platform to raise more than $5,000 for a local LGBTQ nonprofit organization.
The incident occurred on May 22, in Arcanum, Ohio, when Bradley O’Dell and his fiancé, Mike Stone, discovered that somebody had used chemicals to burn the homophobic slur “FAG” into their lawn.
“I never in a million years thought I would see that in my front yard,” Stone told ABC affiliate WHIO-TV.
“I’m angry, I don’t understand,” he continued. “But, as a gay man, I feel like I’ve gone through this before. It’s almost like it comes with the territory.”
O’Dell and Stone filed a report with the police and have since purchased a security camera. Arcanum Police Chief Marcus Ballinger told WHIO-TV that the investigation into the incident remains ongoing.
At this point, there have been no arrests or charges filed. Because Ohio does not have a law protecting sexual orientation, the incident is unlikely to be charged as a hate crime.
But O’Dell said he and Stone wanted to turn “this terrible act of hate” into something positive for the local LGBTQ community.
“Regardless of how much hate there was in this one single act, something good is going to come out of it and love always wins in the end,” he said.
The couple has since set up a Facebook fundraiser for the Dayton-area nonprofit Have A Gay Day. That fundraiser has since raised more than $5,000.
“If you’re struggling with who you are, regardless of how you identify yourself, there are people out there that will support you,” O’Dell said of the nonprofit’s mission. “And there are people there to help you through those tough times, you don’t have to do it alone.”
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