OMAHA (KPTM)- A straight man was beat up after defending his gay fiends in downtown Omaha, and Omaha Policeman James Shade said it's being investigating as a hate crime.
Ryan Langenegger has a black eye and two chipped teeth.
Langengger said he and his two friends stopped at Pepperjax in downtown Omaha after attending a drag show Sunday night. Their meal was interrupted when three men kept staring at them.
"My friend then said yes I know I'm a boy in a dress. After that, he said yes I know, and then colorful words, disgusting," said Langenegger.
Langenegger, who is straight, said he was sticking up for his friend Jacob Gellinger who was in drag at the time.
"There's great people that see past orientation and it's just about being friends," said Gellinger.
Josh Foo was also there. When the three men started to say things, Foo said, "I looked at them and said we have to go."
Foo, Gellinger, and Langenegger left the restaurant but before they could get far the men cut them off.
"I said really, we're not looking for any trouble," remembered Langenegger.
However trouble is exactly what happened.
"One of his friends ended up hitting me in the side of the face when I wasn't looking," said Langenegger.
"I turned around looked-and Ryan's face was just covered in blood," said Foo.
It was Langenegger's words after he was hit that had both Foo and Gellinger amazed. "Then I just looked at them both and said why?" said Langenegger.
Omaha Police are investigating the assault as a hate crime. Federal law defines a hate crime as anytime somebody is criminal act based off of race, sexual orientation, or sexual preference.
"That's our main concern is to make sure people are okay," said Omaha Police Officer James Shade. "We will follow up on this and make sure there's not other victims from this."
Foo, a professional photographer, snapped a photo of Langenegger when they got home. "I told him these things happen a lot," said Foo. "I was talking to my neighbors who said this doesn't happen in Omaha, and I said, yeah it does."
"When you have to look at your friend and they're sad and they're crying because people are degrading them to that level-and nobody is really doing anything around you," said Langenegger is disbelief.
The LGBT community is now rallying around the three men.
A rally is planned for Saturday, November 2nd at 4 p.m. near 13th and Howard streets.
"Drag is out of the norm for some people. And that's what Saturday is really about–this coming rally is about exposing drag in broad daylight, and show people there's nothing scary about it and there's nothing harmful about the gay community," said Anna Roxia, the rally organizer.
Langenegger said things were a little blurry after he was hit, but one thing was clear. "They didn't try to run, we were calling the cops, and they literally just walked away."
However, Langenegger, Foo, and Gellinger, said they aren't running away from this either.