GRAPHIC: Same-sex couple says they were attacked, blamed for monkeypox

Published: Aug. 10, 2022 at 12:45 PM EDT
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WASHINGTON (WUSA) - Authorities in Washington, D.C. are looking for suspects believed to be involved in a hate crime.

According to the Metropolitan Police Department, two men were attacked Sunday by people who blamed their community for spreading monkeypox. Police released photos Tuesday of two suspects and asked the public for help identifying them.

So far, no one has been taken into custody.

The men say they were attacked because they are gay, while walking home not far from the U Street corridor.

Robert, who asked his last name not be used, said the assault started with slurs and a reference to monkeypox.

“‘Look at these monkeypox (explicit),’ and, ‘Look at these (explicit),’ and the stuff along those lines,” he said.

Robert says he and his partner tried to ignore the group of about five teen boys and two girls.

“After walking away for a bit, I realized they were following us,” he said. “So, I turned around to see what was going on and they, one of them, sucker punched me and then hit my partner and then hit me again.”

Robert was bruised, and his partner was bloodied and required a trip to the hospital and stitches.

Robert says the boys took off. Two girls in the group tried to apologize but also left before police arrived.

“We must stand up for our friends and neighbors, especially right now when there is too much anti-LGBTQ+ rhetoric sweeping our nation,” said Mayor Muriel Bowser on Twitter.

Robert and his partner say whether it’s misinformation around monkeypox or something else, they’ve noticed more hate in recent months.

“(I had) more experiences with bigotry and homophobia this summer than I have in my entire life, and I grew up in Texas,” he said.

A doctor with DC Health issued a statement saying monkeypox is “not a disease of the LGBTQ+ community.”

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