Omaha Police said Thursday officers are investigating this incident as a hate crime. Gay rights activists in Omaha want people to know there’s nothing scary about a man in a dress. They will be hosting a rally Saturday to take a stand against hate crimes and homophobia. The rally was organized in response to an assault that happened early Sunday in the Old Market. Ryan Langenegger of Omaha, a 22-year-old straight man and Marine, said he was punched in the face after he peacefully defended his two gay friends.
The gay community considers Langenegger’s actions heroic, and is hosting a “Drag Out Hate!” rally in his honor on Saturday. “I wanted to show in broad daylight that there is nothing to fear about gay people and there is nothing disgusting about drag,” said Chad Bugge, one of the organizers of the rally. “Drag is fun and it has been the source of entertainment for the gay community for years.” Mayor Jean Stothert said in a statement that she’s been assured the Omaha Police Department is treating the incident with the seriousness it deserves.