While Nylea VanHoutan, 16, and her friends were walking home from a pumpkin festival in Missouri recently, a group of boys allegedly attacked her.
‘It was like 20 to 30 of them,’ the teen told Fox43 news.
‘They were high school kids because one of my friends said something like she had seen them at school.’
VanHoutan was with three female friends when the male attackers reportedly began harassing the four girls.
They were walking to VanHoutan’s uncle’s house and tried to ignore the boys. However, then one of the boys allegedly hit her in the back of the head and punched her, giving her a black eye.
VanHoutan added they called her a ‘wanna-be boy “expletive”‘ when they attacked her.
Both she and her mom, Sescha Hicks, believe it was because of her sexuality and are calling it a hate crime. ‘I’m pretty sure it happened because I was queer. It’s not okay, it’s wrong,’ she said.
Hicks added: ‘Super angry as a mother. I believe down to the core of my bones it was a hate crime.’
After the boys ran off, doctors treated VanHoutan at a nearby hospital.
Bullying has to stop
Yesterday, GLAAD celebrated their annual Spirit Day. For the day, people wore purple and pledged to stand up against LGBTI bullying.
VanHoutan’s story is a clear example of why this day is needed.
85.2% of LGBTI students report being verbally harassed, while a little over half feel unsafe at school because of their sexual orientation.