A Tortonto man claims to have been violently attacked outside his apartment on Monday night, and was apparently wrongly targeted as a gay man.
26-year-old Sheng Yan says he was heading back from the grocery store when two men approached him on Gerrard St. east of Yonge St.
As Yan walked by, he says one man was “kicking signage” and yelling.
“I can’t believe we were seen as a gay couple,” Yan says the man shouted to the other.
Then they turned to Yan.
“He said, ‘Do we look gay to you? ’cause you look pretty gay to me.’”
“I turned around and before I could say anything, they grabbed my hair, pulled me to the ground and started hitting and kicking my face,” he says.
Yan claims he was struck 15 times in all, mostly by one individual. Eventually, passerby noticed the violence and the two men fled.
Yan called 911 and an ambulance took him Mount Sinai Hospital.
Doctors told Yan that he suffered internal bleeding near his right eye, scratched eyelids, and temporarily reduced vision.
Toronto police are investigating the incident. The suspects have yet to be found.
Yan posted a Facebook photo of himself: his eyelid almost swollen shut. He’s received dozens of messages of support, many from strangers.
“It’s very heartwarming,” he says.
The fact that he identifies as straight, he says, ultimately has no bearing on the attack.
“Anyone can be a victim,” he says. “You can just be assaulted if you’re picked out.”
This is the first time he’s been “a victim of violent hate crime,” and he says he’s “learned a lesson about the danger of hatred the hard way.”
“(V)ictims of homophobia are not exclusive to gay/lesbian/bi/transsexual persons, but are all members of the society; hatred knows no reasoning and honours no negotiation,” he posted to Facebook.
“I’m not in any way defeated. If anything, it’s made me stronger.”
h/t: The Star