A visitor to the Memphis Zoo says he was attacked by a gun-toting gang of homophobes who punched and beat him in the face on Tuesday.
Reginald Buckner, age 23, says he was near the zoo’s dining area when a pair of women came up to him to ask him if they could borrow his cell phone. He said no.
WMC Action News explains what happened next:
“They just asked all of us were we gay and we were like ‘yeah’ and they say ‘you know you’re going to hell right?’ and I said ‘wow’,” Buckner said.
He said the women then joined up with a couple of men and that’s when he said the derogatory comments started and were followed by several punches.
“They just started out of nowhere physically assaulting,” Buckner said.
Buckner’s friends came to his aid against the attacker. But then, the police report says, somebody in the crowd shouted the word “gun,” and one of the people in the group attacking Buckner flashed a gun.
“That’s what made everyone start running away when they had the gun,” Buckner said. “When she lifted up the gun everybody just started running.”
Buckner was taken to the emergency room with a black eye.
His attackers were not apprehended.
This comes on the heels of a hate crime outside a gay bar in Nashville just last January. Overall, there has been an increase in hate crimes since the presidential election. A recent survey of 12 major metropolitan areas found a 23.3% increase since the previous year, with many of these attacks aimed at LGBTQ people.
Anti-LGBTQ bullying has also gotten worse since Trump’s election. The administration’s open contempt for ethnic and cultural minorities appears to have emboldened bigots. One man who attacked a gay couple in Key West said, “You live in Trump country now.”
(Featured photo by cyano66 via iStock)