Rally demands end to hate crimes after anti-gay attack in Austin

Sofia Lotto Persio February 4, 2019
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A rally calling for the end of hate crimes took place in Austin.

A rally calling for the end of hate crimes was organised in Austin after a gay couple was attacked in January. (Sara Bechtold Freund/Facebook)

Dozens of demonstrators marched in Austin, Texas, on Saturday (February 2) to demand an end to hate crimes after a gay couple survived a brutal attack in January.

The #EndHateCrimes rally participants gathered at 4th and Lavaca in the early evening and marched towards Texas State Capitol, where various speakers addressed the crowd.

On a Facebook page for the rally, organisers said they hoped the march would prove cathartic while also raise awareness about the demands of the LGBT+ community in Austin, the city in Texas where the highest number of hate crimes were reported in 2017, according to FBI data.

Spencer Deehring and Tristan Perry, who were taken to the hospital after being attacked by a group of men after leaving a bar holding hands on January 19, were among the people who spoke from the steps of Texas State Capitol.

Gay couple attacked in January address rally calling for end to hate crimes

Deehring, a software developer, said: “To tackle such a cultural issue in our society we must take action that goes beyond converging on the Capitol here. Texas needs better protections and legislation for our queer community members.

“My goal is that in the future my children will be able to grow up and be whomever they want to be without fear of being beaten or attacked while they are out in public.”

A visibly emotional Perry added: “With all this said, we cannot express how grateful we are to be asked to speak at this event. This is a time for our community to grow closer. Don’t ever waiver to hate. Always be yourself and be proud.

“Stand for what you believe in. And finally, always spread love. This world has enough hatred and it’s time to end that. This is our time to accept each other and stand together.”

Gay couple spencer and tristan address the rally calling to end hate crimes after they were victims of a homophobic attack.
Spencer Deehring and Tristan Perry addressed the End Hate Crimes rally in Austin, Texas, after surviving a homophobic attack in June. (Sarah Marloff/Twitter)

The #EndHateCrimes rally was only one of the ways the LGBT+ community in Austin came together to support Deehring and Perry.

As police is still looking for the couple’s attackers, a number of local businesses offered a total reward of $11,000 for information that would lead to catching perpetrators.

A crowdfunding page set up to help the couple pay their medical bills also gathered more $20,000 in the space of a few days, more than five times its original $4,000 goal.

Local LGBT+ people in the city decided to form a ‘Rainbow Patrol’ to keep the city’s gayborhood safe.

More: Austin, hate crimes, Homophobia, Spencer Perry, Texas, Tristan Deehring, US

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