Is Houston Facing An Anti-Gay Crime Wave?

[caption id="attachment_187612" align="aligncenter" width="596"]juan-carlos-ramirez-650 Juan Ramirez was found murdered in Montrose on Thursday morning[/caption]

Just weeks after a Houston gay activist was shot in an apparent hate crime, two more attacks in the city's gayborhood are leading LGBT community members to fear an anti-gay crime wave is brewing.

Early Thursday morning, two people were shot just a few blocks apart in Houston's gayborhood, Montrose: Juan Carlos Ramirez, 22, was shot and killed after leaving F Bar, a popular gay club. Project Q reports two teenagers have been arrested in conjunction with the murder

Only minutes after the attack on Ramirez, another gay man was found nearby, shot and slumped over the wheel of his car. He is in critical condition.

The Houston Chronicle reports "investigators are trying to determine if the two shootings are related, [since] they occurred minutes apart and a few blocks away from each other."

It's not clear if these two attacks were bias crimes or just robberies gone awry, but many feel criminals are targeting LGBT people under the impression they make easy targets.

On February 15, John Gaspari was attacked as he walked through Montrose. Robbers took his wallet and cell phone, beat him and shot him in the stomach. Gaspari said the assailants yelled, "Get the fag."

Anti-gay animus has reared its head in Houston over the last year since lesbian mayor Annise Parker introduced the Equal Rights Ordinance, which would ban discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. Rallies held in opposition have drawn major players in the right-wing movement, including Rick Santorum and Mike Huckabee, reality TV star Josh Duggar, Fox News commentator Todd Starnes and FRC President Tony Perkins.

These recent attacks have prompted a Take Back Montrose rally Friday night.

h/t: Towleroad

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