MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A man visiting Memphis as a performer says he was threatened with a gun and then physically attacked, all because he’s gay.
He’ says the attack at a night club on Second Street is a hate crime.
The man, who needed stitches after the attack, says he left the nightclub Purple Haze after a night filled with fun, when he was approached by someone apparently full of hate.
“There was a crowd of people from the club, came out and yelled, ‘Hate crime, hate crime!'”
That’s what he remembers before being knocked out cold. He needed seven stitches, and his mememories of Memphis might never be the same.
“Before I knew it, it went black like that.”
He didn’t want us to reveal his identity because he’s a performer who travels the country acting and singing.
On a day his friends back home in New York were celebrating pride Sunday, he spent the morning hours in the hospital.
At around 4 a.m. Sunday, two men approached him outside of Purple Haze.
“He asked me, ‘Are you gay?’ And I said yes, I am. ‘Well then what would you do if I had a gun?’ and I said, well I would tell you not to use it or shoot anyone.”
He says after that short conversation, he blacked out because the man punched him. He also says two men attacked one of his friends, “and was telling his friend who had tripped and fallen on the ground to pull out his gun and shoot us.”
A witness tried to chase the criminals, but only captured a blurry picture as the duo jumped into a car.
The nightclub might come up with better pictures because it has security cameras, and police cameras line Lt. George W Lee Avenue.
“Before I knew it, I was in the face of an enemy.”
While the Memphis visitor says he’s a little less proud to be born in Tennessee, he’s still proud of who is.
“Honestly I feel like every day is pride because I’m just happy to be who I am, and I have nothing but love for people.”
Between 2012 and 2013, there were 291 hate crimes reported in Tennessee, according to the TBI. That’s a 17 percent increase from the previous year. Anti-gay bias now makes up almost 40 percent of reported hate crimes.