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Man was victim of anti-LGBT beating even though he's not gay

Last Updated Mar 2, 2016 at 7:57 pm EDT

A Toronto man is stepping forward after being the victim of what he calls an anti-LGBT hate crime.

Sheng Hua Yan says he was returning from a grocery run on Gerrard St. E. late Monday night when he spotted two men talking on the sidewalk.

He said one of the men was clearly upset that he and his friend were mistakenly identified as a gay couple.

“I can’t believe we were seen as a gay couple!” one man shouted.

He then turned on Yan, with an accusatory tone.

“Are you gay?” he asked. “You look pretty gay to me.”

Yan, who is not homosexual, turned to walk away when he was grabbed by the hair, punched and kicked to the ground.

Yan says he sustained 10-15 blows before another passerby interrupted the incident. The two men fled towards Yonge Street, and Yan called 911 for police assistance.

“This is my first experience (and hopefully last) being a victim of violent hate crime,” Yan wrote on his Facebook page.

“I have also learned a lesson about the danger of hatred the hard way: victims of homophobia are not exclusive to gay/lesbian/bi/transsexual persons, but are ALL members of the society; hatred knows no reasoning and honours no negotiation, one can simply be a victim if picked to be.”

Toronto Police Media Relations Officer Jenniferjit Sidhu says Toronto’s hate crime division is investigating the case, but it hasn’t been determined whether it will be classified as a hate crime.

Yan says he suffered a bruised right eye and slightly reduced vision as well as some internal bleeding from the beating. He has more medical checkups ahead.

“The LGBT community’s battle for acceptance is just as relevant as, if not necessary for everyone’s survival, regardless of sexual orientation,” Yan said.