w-windsor-assault-suspect

Police released this security camera image photo of one of the suspects. ((Windsor police))

A gay rights activist and director of a one-act play in Windsor about tolerance is recovering from a savage beating that he says exposes a hateful act of homophobia.

Chris Rabideau, 26, said he was robbed and then beaten by two men who told him the attack early Friday was justified because he's gay.

He said the incident began after one man approached him outside a convenience store at Ouellette Way and Giles Boulevard. When he reached the corner of Ouellette and Erie Street, another man joined the first suspect.

A police report said they took Rabideau's wallet and tried to force him to go to a bank machine to withdraw money. He instead ran to his apartment lobby, where they caught up to him.

rabideau-chris-windsor

Chris Rabideau said the suspects beat him in the lobby of his apartment building and used anti-gay slurs. He said they determined he was gay from his demeanor and became very angry when he told them they were on video. ((CBC) )

During the incident, the men denigrated Rabideau, referring to him with slurs commonly used in gay bashing.

"I think it was drug-related, I think they wanted money. It became a hate crime because they started calling me 'faggot', 'homo' and everything in between," Rabideau said. "They said now that you're gay, this gives us more reason to do what we're doing."

Rabideau said he thought he was going to die when one of the men began choking him.

A security camera in the apartment lobby caught the assault on tape. It shows Rabideau lying on the floor as the suspects leave.

"They grabbed me, put me into the corner and started kicking into my head," he said.

The attack occurred a few days after Rabideau directed the play Waking Up Blue in order to raise awareness about homophobia and to teach tolerance.

He said he decided to speak out about the beating so that people can see how ugly homophobia is.

"Many people around me have told me not to come forward and talk about this yet, but I see the urgency of doing it now," Rabideau said. "I want people to see the face of hate."

Police are still looking for suspects. They're asking anyone with information about the case to call Crimestoppers, at 519-255-TIPS.