Gay couple attacked and told to ‘get off our island or be killed’
A gay couple were attacked and subjected to gay slurs while boating near Wisteria Island, Key West in Florida.
Christopher Yarema and Stephanie Burnham were arrested on Saturday (October 27) over the incident.
A spokesperson from Monroe County Sheriff’s Office told WPLG the two gay men had rented a boat with an inflatable dingy to do some sightseeing in the sea near to Wisteria Island.
They were then approached by Yarema, 43, and Burnham, 35, who shouted anti-gay slurs at the couple.
“Hey, Mr. Speedo [expletive], get the [expletive] off our island,” the police report stated, according to WPLG.
“You have five seconds to get off, or I will kill you,” Burnham reportedly said.
Yarema hit one of the gay men in the face, breaking his classes, before striking him with a boat oar.
After the man knocked away Burnham, Yarema drew a knife and punctured the dinghy.
The couple were able to get on board their rental boat before the dinghy deflated. They called the U.S. Coast Guard for assistance.
Arrest reports on Monroe County Sheriff’s Office’s website show that Yarema has been charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon without intention to kill, and criminal damage.
Burnham has been charged with battery and criminal damage.
The pair will be formally charged on November 9.
Also in Florida, a 15-year-old boy was recently attacked by another student because he thought he was gay.
Jaiden Muniz-Walls, who attends Pensacola Catholic High School in Florida, was left with a black eye and a broken nose.
He was also called homophobic slurs by the perpetrator.
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Muniz-Walls, who does not identify as gay, was attacked in his classroom but didn’t fight back, instead putting his arms up to protect himself.
He was reportedly targeted because of his hobbies, which include dancing, the Pensacola News Journal reported.
The student who attacked Muniz-Walls is facing a misdemeanor battery charge, but the victim’s mother says she wants more to be done to protect other children at the school.
“I want to do the right thing by my son, I want to do the right thing by all of it,” she said.
“I don’t feel like this should just go unnoticed, there’s no telling how many kids in that school are feeling the same way and are feeling unsafe but are scared to talk about it.”