After a violent homophobic attack in Austin, Texas, locals have set up a ‘Rainbow Patrol’ to protect the city’s LGBT+ community.
Local LGBT+ people in the city decided to form the group after a brutal January 19 attack on a gay couple, Spencer Deehring and Tristan Perry.
The Texas gay couple were branded “faggots” before being kicked and punched to the ground by a group of men, who left them both with horrific injuries.
Austin Rainbow Patrol vows to protect local LGBT+ community
The attack, which was only the latest violent homophobic incident in the city, has spurred the creation of a ‘Rainbow Patrol’ to keep the city’s gayborhood safe.
The volunteer-led gayborhood watch group explained: “In the wake of recent hate crimes against our LGBTQ+ community downtown, we are forming a volunteer group to walk the parts of [Austin, near gay venues].
“This is a positive, inclusive, non-violent, non-confrontational, de-escalation, distraction, and protection squad that can bring some light back to our downtown: bright shirts, whistles, and flashlights.
“Austin Police Department is aware of this effort and grateful for more eyes and ears.”
Speaking to local news outlet KVUE, the Rainbow Patrol founder Colin Acock said that so far 22 volunteers had come forward to be part of the group.
There have been no arrests following the attack on Deehring and Perry, which is being treated as a suspected hate crime.
Speaking about the violent attack, Acock said: “It sparked something very deep in me and very personal. I got fed up, and I was like, ‘You know, it’s time to bring back the rainbow guard.’
“It’s supposed to be our playground, and it feels like there’s some bullies on our playground, and that’s not how we do that here.”
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“It feels like there’s some bullies on our playground, and that’s not how we do that here.”
He added: “If everyone keeps telling us that we’re the best city in the country, then those sorts of things shouldn’t be happening.”
Austin Rainbow Patrol want to reclaim the night
The group went out on their first patrol on Saturday (January 26), donning rainbows and high-vis vests to take back the night.
James Huddleson, who went on patrol with the group, wrote: “What happened to those two guys is unacceptable not just in Austin, but anywhere period.
“We are a peaceful, inclusive and non-violent Patrol, if we can give anyone peace of mind to walk safely to their destination without fear is a plus!
“Let’s work together to bring back hope to all around! We need more people to join cause strength in numbers!”
Acock put out a further call for volunteers after Empire actor Jussie Smollett was reportedly targeted in a racist, anti-gay attack in Chicago.
He added: “Jussie, I will not stand this any longer. No more. We started this here. I’m going to start here. ANYONE can stand up and do this. No more.”