Ryan Langenegger, a 22-year-old marine, suffered a gash on his forehead, a bruised eye socket and two chipped teeth when he was attacked by a man in Omaha, Nebraska while trying to protect his friends, Joshua Foo and Jacob Gellinger, who happens to be gay, from a potential hate crime.
Langenegger, Foo and Gellinger attended a drag show earlier in the evening on Saturday and decided to go to PepperJax Grill afterwards. Gellinger decided to wear his dress that night.
Langenegger said that as the three of them were seated in the restaurant, a man, who was seated with two other men at another table, came to the table and stared at them, while repeatedly saying, “Should I?”
Langeenegger said he didn’t know what he meant.
Gellinger told the man, ” I know I am a boy in a dress.”
The man told Gellinger, “Yeah, and you’re **** disgusting.”
Langenegger and his friends decided to leave. As they were walking out of the restaurant, they noticed the same three men following them and insulting them. The men blocked their path to the vehicle they arrived in. Langenegger told them that he and his friends didn’t want any trouble. That’s when someone attacked Langenegger.
Langenegger recalled looking up and saying, “Why? Why would you do this?” while still refusing to fight. After the men walked away, Foo called the police. So far, no arrests have been made.
Update: Omaha police are investigating the case as a hate crime.
Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert made a statement regarding this case on Thursday.
Hate crimes in our community will not be tolerated and should be reported and investigated.
Langenegger feels the hatred shown by these men was unnecessary and hopes this moment will make more people aware of this kind of behavior.
Hopefully more people realize this is a problem. People need to be more accepting of everyone.
Chad Bugge, a drag queen who is helping the gay community organize a rally this Saturday called, “Drag out the hate”, says Langenegger is a hero. Bugge is a regular at drag shows in Omaha and works diligently to teach others that being dressed in drag is harmless.
I wanted to show in broad daylight that there is nothing to fear about gay people and there is nothing disgusting about drag. Drag is fun and it has been the source of entertainment for the gay community for years.
The rally will start at 4 p.m. at 13th and Howard Streets in Omaha. Drag queens will lead a peaceful walk through the Old Market, where the attack took place. Bugge says everyone is welcomed to attend.
For more on this story, check out the video below.