January 17, 2013

It's about an Irondale man who says he was attacked because he's gay. And he hopes that by sharing his story it will encourage lawmakers to draft and approve hate crimes legislation when it comes to sexual orientation. Right now, the hate crimes on the books in Alabama only cover race, religion, and disabilities. Sexual orientation and gender identity aren't a part of the hate crime laws. For Richie Covington of Irondale it's a loop hole he didn't learn about until it was too late. Covington never thought his sexual orientation would lead to an attack. He's been open about being gay for over a decade, but since recently moving back to the South he says he's been ridiculed, harassed, and now attacked. "If they don't like gay people, they don't like transgender people that's your prerogative to have, but when it gets to the point of hurting another person that's where I have a problem with it," said Covington. On Jan. 5 Covington says he was walking to the store when a man, who mistook Covington for a girl, hollered at him. When the man realized Covington was a man, things got heated.