William Southern, who recently moved to Washington, D.C., says he and a friend were the target of a violent hate crime this past Sunday.
In a post on his Instagram, Southern wrote that he and his friend, Robbie Barletta, were at the corner of 16th and U Street when the incident occurred.
According to Southern, they were attacked and beaten by mob of 4 men and a woman simply because they were gay.
Both men suffered several cuts and bruises, and Southern was sent to the emergency room for stitches to treat a split lip.
Southern posted photos of his injuries as well as their bloodied t-shirts.
But the social media post was not a ‘woe-is-me’ story. Southern makes it clear the incident only underscores his self-confidence in knowing who he is and living his life out loud.
“I will never stop being gay, I will never feel ashamed of who I am,” writes Southern. “Most importantly, I will never let anyone around me feel like less of a person simply because of who they are!”
He also thanked members of his Stonewall kickball league family for being there for him even though he’s a fairly new transplant to the DC area.
Southern closed his post with an upbeat message of community unity, writing, “May we stand strong and move forward.”
So, this is extremely hard for me and I have not 100% settled on how I feel it. But, Sunday a friend of mine @robertandre and I were the target and the victims of a hate crime. We were attacked by 4 men and a women on the corner of 16th and U in Washington DC, simply because we were gay. The four men and the lady brutally attacked myself and my friend, I was sent to the ER where I received stitches to pull my lip back together. But, the moral of this story is not that it happened or for people to feel sorry for me. This is a statement, I will never stop being gay, I will never feel ashamed of who I am. Most importantly, I will never let anyone around me feel like less of a person simply because of who they are! I am fortunate enough to have an amazing support system even though I have only lived in DC for a few months. I am proud and honoured to be apart of @stonewallkickball, my kickball family came together and has given me amazing support and I never would have met them without the lady’s and gentlemen who were courageous enough to put together these teams to support LGBTQ rights and give them a safe haven to be themselves. May we stand strong and move forward.
A post shared by William Southern (@wsouthernxd) on