Christian Howard suffered fractured bones and sleepless nights after the gay man was beaten savagely by a mob of black men at Detroit’s annual gay pride festival that was captured on video.
Detroit police are investigating what Chief James Craig on Tuesday called a hate crime that took place near the Motor City Pride Festival at the famous Hart Plaza along the Detroit River.
Howard said he stopped along the RiverWalk to pose for a picture with a girl who recognized him from the social media website Instagram.
Howard is an aspiring hair stylist and has a strong social media following under the alias Chong Lee.
“She wanted to take a picture with me. As we were posing for the picture this guy started saying, ‘Look at this (slur).’ I knew he was talking to me and I just tried to ignore it and not think about it. After that, that’s when he started to walk behind me.”
When the man continued to linger behind him, Howard could sense that danger and violence was imminent. “He stood behind me and said, ‘This (gay slur) with the long hair, you think you have a right to wear long hair?’ ” Howard said, according the HuffPost.
Out of nowhere, five more men appeared and surrounded Howard, forcing him to take a defensive posture as he knew a fight was about to commence.
“I said, ‘Are y’all going to jump me?’ and I started to get ready to fight.”
He doesn’t know who took the video that appeared on YouTube on Monday showing the men punching and kicking Howard for nearly a minute before running away. Howard can be seen trying to defend himself by punching back.
In the aftermath, Howard said he suffered a fractured finger, damage to his left eye and several bruises on his face and back.
Moreover, Howard doesn’t know if he’ll ever return to the annual festival.
“It scared me,” he said. “Now every time I see a group of guys I get that same feeling that I’m about to be bashed or they’re about to say something. I feel like I have quick flashbacks and just jump a little bit.”
Tammara Howard, his mother, was heartbroken and outraged.
“They were down there to just be a problem,” she said. “For them to be harassing my son, jumping on my child, that’s a big pill to swallow. I want them to get caught and I want justice to be served and I know it will. My son has a right to live his life like anyone else, if he’s gay that’s his own business. Those young men need to go to jail.”
There has been overwhelming support for the capture of the perpetrators of this mob-style beatdown as well as for Howard , #justiceforchonglee, has been started on his behalf. He said he hopes what happens to him will bring the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities together.
“Gays need to stick together when it comes to people bashing us,” he said.