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Local Community Stands Up For Two Men Harassed for Being Gay

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Two men in Columbus, Ohio, experienced first-hand what can happen when complete strangers stand up for what they believe is right.

After a night out, Ethan White and Joel Diaz decided to stop by the popular Mikey's Late Night Slice, a pizza truck. It was cold, so the two men held hands and stood close together. White and Diaz happen to be gay men. This did not sit well with one patron who was standing in front of them, and he let it be known by yelling at the them. He allegedly called out, "cut that gay sh-- out," and continued to yell out antigay comments.

What happened next surprised White and Diaz. Instead of ignoring the man's outbursts, almost every person in line came to their defense, including their friend John Warner, who is also gay. But it was the straight people who surprised Diaz and White the most. They had not expected allies in a public forum--nor had they expected the man's outburst in the first place. The outburst was especially surprising to them because the food truck happened to be in one of the more gay-friendly areas of Columbus. Diaz recalls that as the man became more vocal and irate, the food truck workers halted what they were doing and leaned toward the window to let the man know they were refusing to serve him because of his hateful speech.

Diaz said he was touched to hear strangers chime in about how hate speech would not be tolerated in their community, and their comments made him feel empowered.

Diaz shared what happened on his Facebook page and said he expected that his friends would read it and share the story with others. What he did not expect was that his story would go viral. The story was shared on Reddit and received more 266,000 views and counting.

Both White and Diaz joined Trending Now via Skype to tell us about the experience.

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