“Hi, my name is Justin Alesna, I’m 23 years old and a resident of Detroit, Michigan. On the evening of March 7, 2011, I was attacked in a convenience store of a BP gas station.”
So begins a YouTube video created by Alesna that chronicles how he was called anti-gay slurs and punched in the face by another patron in the gas station that evening. The video has more than 10,000 views. The Detroit Police have not made any arrests and is still investigating the case.
“This revolting crime is a sad reminder that we have much progress to make when it comes to respect and acceptance for all people in Michigan, regardless of real or perceived sexual orientation,” Equality Michigan said in a statement about Alesna. “The incident as described is a crime motivated by hatred of those perceived to be gay. However, unlike the federal hate crime law, our state law does not include sexual orientation, gender identity or expression bias,” said Nusrat Ventimiglia, Equality Michigan’s director of victim services.
Equality Michigan has been in contact with the FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s Office regarding the case. The organization and its partners are planning a community event to respond to the incident next week.