SAN PEDRO (CBSLA) — The City of San Pedro flew a rainbow flag — representing the LGBTQ community — Saturday evening as a show of support for an Air Force veteran who was the victim of a hate crime last wee.
CBS2’s Adrianna Weingold reported from San Pedro’s Welcome Park to see if the veteran — Ryan Gierach — — was feeling the love.
Ryan says the harassment started just days after he moved into his apartment in San Pedro two years ago. He says the hate has escalated. He hopes with the public support of his community, the harassment will stop.
Gierach is an Air Force veteran and gay rights activist. Lately he says he’s been the target of hate from his neighbors. He says his neighbors have harassed him verbally and even assaulted him. He took videos of some of his neighbors calling him names and one seen spitting on him.
“Looked up at me and began calling me gay epithets and a child molester,” Gierach says.
The community of San Pedro is standing up for Gierach. Councilman Joe Buscaino led the charge at Welcome Park where a group of proud San Pedro residents, and community leaders raised a pride flag in Gierach’s honor.
“We are a town, we are a city that’s inclusive, that regardless of who you love, how you love, how you pray, what you look like, or how you live, that we are welcoming to everyone here in San Pedro,” Buscaino said.
Gierach says the harassment has been brutal. He says his neighbors even posted signs, calling him a pedophile. Some have thrown dirty diapers at him. He says the harassment escalated when he put up a rainbow flag in honor of Pride month.
“This is not about me, this happens every day in every place in this nation,” Gierach says.
Still, he’s determined to handle the situation with love in his heart and hopes with the help and support of his community, the harassment will stop.
After the flag raising celebration held at the park, a rainbow flag was also raised at the LAPD’s Harbor division, to show law enforcement and the community of San Pedro support the LGBTQ community.