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Dozens rally to #EndHateCrimes in support of gay couple brutally attacked in Austin

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Dozens of supporters rallied to end hate crimes Saturday night in support of a gay couple violently attacked in downtown Austin two weeks ago.

The #EndHateCrimes rally started at 4th Street and Lavaca and ended at the steps of the Texas State Capitol.

Organizers used the moment to call attention to the rise in hate crime violence and also said they wanted to see more protections for LGBTQ people experiencing hate crimes.

“I’m hoping that it’s going to bring awareness to everyone that hate crimes are still happening,” said Steven Hyden, an organizer for the event who has also experienced hate crime themselves. “I’m hoping that it’s going to push law makers to reform the process for reporting a hate crime, because as it is right now, it does not protect people for their gender identity, so if you attack someone because of their gender identity, that’s not considered a hate crime.”

The rally was organized in support of Spencer Perry and Tristan Deehring, a gay couple brutally attacked by a group of unknown men as they were holding hands and walking back to their car from a nightclub on 4th Street Jan. 19.

Deehring and Perry said they hope the attack won’t scare people from being themselves no matter their gender identity or sexual orientation.

“I can say, for myself, I’m doing moderately alright,” Perry said. “It’s kind of scary getting back out in public and being so vulnerable, but I’m really glad to be surrounded by so many people that have the same vision in mind for all of us to come together as a community.”

“I’m just hoping [the suspects] can learn from this and learn from all the overwhelming support that we’ve received, and I hope that they’re watching so that they can see that there’s people that know that’s wrong and that kind of behavior wouldn’t be tolerated,” Deehring said.

Counselors were on hand during the rally and a moment of silence was held in support of hate crime survivors.

Police are still looking for the men who attacked Deehring and Perry near 3rd Street and Congress.

Several local businesses have also raised $11,000 to reward whoever has information that leads to an arrest in the crime

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