Toronto Police are investigating an alleged hate crime that occurred near the city’s Gay Village.
Ryan Lester, 30, and his brother Ben, 24, claim they were attacked on Church Street on January 22.
It happened once the men walked inside Mehran Restaurant. Two other patrons allegedly taunted them, calling them “faggot” and other slurs.
According to police, the incident then became violent.
Ben suffered a broken molar and bruises on his back, while Ryan sustained a black eye.
“It was really upsetting, I don’t like to think about it but I’m forced to. And I think it’s an important story that needs to be told,” Ryan told CityNews.
“It shocks me that it would happen in Toronto first, and so close to the village, second.”
The two accused allegedly broke the restaurant’s front window.
Eoin McManus, 21, and Benjamin McCall, 21, have been arrested and charged with two counts of assault and one count of mischief.
Det. Chu Chang told The Toronto Star the attack was categorized as a hate crime, the first time he’s ever made that designation.
The attack comes on the heels of reports students at Jarvis Collegiate Institute, a school in the heart of the Gay Village, have been harassing people in the neighbourhood.
Police are investigating reports students may have thrown slushies or snowballs at residents. The practice may have been inspired by the television show Glee, where the more popular students “slushie” members of the school’s glee club, including one gay student.
“At this point in time we are looking at a few isolated incidents,” said Det. Sgt. Kevin Guest.
“We are taking them very seriously.”