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Gay 14-year-old ‘beaten and choked’ for wearing Pride flag in harrowing attack video

Eighth grade student Tristen Torrez says wearing the flag was his "official way" of coming out.

By Jamie Tabberer

Words: Jamie Tabberer; picture: pexels

A gay teen with a Pride flag draped around his shoulders is seen being dragged across the stands of a football field in a harrowing video.

The attack on Tristen Torrez, a 14-year-old from the city of Defiance, Ohio, took place at Defiance Middle School on 27 May 2021, according to reports.

Torrez said brandishing the flag was his way of coming out as gay to his classmates. 

“I was wearing it to state a message”

Torrez shared the footage with local news station WOTL11, saying of the flag: “It was my official way of saying I was gay and not trying to hide it.

“I was wearing it to state a message. And state just because one person is who they are, proud of who they are, doesn’t mean others shouldn’t be proud of who they are.”

Describing the attack, Torrez says: “He comes up behind me, I didn’t hear him come up, he didn’t say [anything].

“Then he pulls me down, which I don’t even remember happening and then he poured water on me, pulled up, pulled down, started choking me…”

Speaking to the broadcaster, Torrez’s mother said: “He’s so used to the bullying it was kind of nothing to him, but to me, it’s just heartbreaking. Especially when you can’t always be there to protect him.”

Superintendent of Defiance City Schools Bob Morton told WTOL11: “We are aware of this situation and it was dealt with swiftly with school administration and local law enforcement.

“Situations like this are taken seriously. We appreciate you bringing it to our attention.”

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