Two gay men visiting San Francisco were attacked in a hate crime, and our hearts are breaking

It often feels like we’ve come *so* far as a society when it comes to the treatment of the LGBTQ+ community. We have marriage equality. We’re finally talking about violence against trans people, including trans women of color. But we still have so much work to do before our country is safe for everyone. In absolutely awful news, according to The Advocate, two gay men visited San Francisco and were attacked in a terrible hate crime, proving that not even a supposedly queer-friendly place like San Francisco is a safe space for LGBT folks.

Neil Frias and Jeff White took a trip from New York to San Francisco, and were shocked to be the victims of a hate crime during their visit.

Frias told the San Francisco Chronicle

“They were saying, ‘You f*gs are destroying family values.'"

He continued, explaining,

“I said I didn’t want any trouble, and one of them got out of the van. I thought he was going to take a swing at me, but he sprayed me across the face."

The friends were attacked by a group of five men shouting homophobic slurs and spraying them with pepper-spray. Luckily, one woman announced that she was calling the police, scaring off the attackers. It was the last thing they expected in the supposedly safe city.

“I’m trying to make sense of it, Frias said. “I would think what happened last night would happen somewhere else, not here.

The attack, too, felt shockingly random. White explained,

“The thing that was the most remarkable about the situation is how unprovoked it was. I was literally tying my shoe when they came at me. It’s mind-boggling.

The police are working to find the attackers behind the hate crime. Police spokesman Carlos Manfredi explained,

“We take these crimes very seriously. If anybody feels they can attack someone based on their sexual preference, we’re going to go after them and hold them accountable.

On one hand, it’s fortunate that the attack happened in a place where law enforcement actually take homophobic hate crime seriously, but, on the other, it’s just so not okay that this is something queer folks are expected to be grateful for.

Our hearts are absolutely broken, and our love goes out to the two friends. We wish we could say we were shocked that this is still a problem, but, unfortunately, our culture has a long way to go before it gets over its homophobia.