Attack on gay men's friend being investigated as a hate crime -
Published Thursday, October 31, 2013 at 1:00 am / Updated at 5:22 pm
Attack on gay men's friend being investigated as a hate crime

Update: Omaha Police said Thursday officers are investigating this incident as a hate crime.

Anyone with information about the crime is encouraged to anonymously contact Crime Stoppers at 402-444-STOP.

Omaha Marine punched after standing up for gay friends, spurring anti-hate-crime rally

Gay rights activists in Omaha want people to know there's nothing scary about a man in a dress.

They will be hosting a rally Saturday to take a stand against hate crimes and homophobia.

The rally was organized in response to an assault that happened early Sunday in the Old Market.

Ryan Langenegger of Omaha, a 22-year-old straight man and Marine, said he was punched in the face after he peacefully defended his two gay friends.

He went to a drag show last Saturday with Joshua Foo, 29, and Jacob Gellinger, 25, who was wearing a dress. After the show, the men headed over to PepperJax Grill in the Old Market to get a bite to eat. It was after 2 a.m.

Langenegger said a man gave him and his friends trouble inside the restaurant. He came over to their table and stared at Gellinger. Langenegger and his friends decided to leave.

They were followed out of the restaurant by three men who started making derogatory statements, Langenegger said.

The men blocked their path. The same man who had approached their table kept repeating, “Should I?”

Langenegger didn't know what he meant.

He and Foo recalled Gellinger saying, “I know I am a boy in a dress.”

The man replied, “Yeah, and you're (expletive) disgusting,” Langenegger recounted.

Langenegger told the man he and his friends didn't want any trouble and just wanted to go home.

Then someone punched Langenegger in the face, resulting in a gash on his forehead, a bruised eye, bloody nose and two chipped teeth.

Langenegger said he looked up and said, “Why? Why would you do this?” and repeated that he wasn't going to fight.

The three men started laughing and walked away, Langenegger said.

Foo called 911, and Langenegger filed a police report and has since talked to a detective about the incident. No arrests had been made.

“Hopefully more people realize this is a problem,” Langenegger said. “People need to be more accepting of everyone.”

Mayor Jean Stothert said in a statement Thursday that she's confident the Omaha Police Department will conduct a thorough investigation.

"Hate crimes in our community will not be tolerated and should be reported and investigated," she said.

The gay community is calling Langenegger a hero, said Chad Bugge, a drag queen who is helping to organize Saturday's event.

Bugge, better known by his stage name Anna Roxia, attends drags shows in Omaha often and doesn't want drag queens to feel unsafe.

“I wanted to show in broad daylight that there is nothing to fear about gay people and there is nothing disgusting about drag,” Bugge said of the rally. “Drag is fun and it has been the source of entertainment for the gay community for years.”

Foo said he wishes more people were like Langenegger, who doesn't judge anyone and is accepting.

“Ryan is straight, but he is really comfortable around gay people,” Foo said. “He is a loyal friend.”

He added, “We need to treat all people with respect.”

The “Drag Out Hate!” rally will start at 4 p.m. at 13th and Howard Streets. Drag queens will lead a peaceful walk through the Old Market.

Bugge hopes the walk will spread the word against hate and educate people about drag. Anyone is welcome to attend, he said.

Contact the writer: Alissa Skelton    |   402-444-1066    |  

Alissa is a breaking news and general assignment reporter for

Hail, strong winds, heavy rain hit south-central Nebraska
Agreement reached to end dog racing at Bluffs Run at end of 2015
Police ID. body found near 36th, Seward Streets
Video: Stothert says Crossroads project is 'full speed ahead,' but she won't support bond issue
'Fairly old' human skull found in Mills County
World champion Crawford's promoter working to have title defense at CenturyLink Center
Kelly: Started at a dining room table, Home Instead thriving at 20 with $1B in annual revenue
Omaha crash victim, 19, had touched many lives
Firefighters take on 'fully engulfed barn fire'
Council Bluffs school board approves new district headquarters
Officials announce effort to lure more veterans to Nebraska
SB 132nd Street lane closed
Shane Osborn grabs several endorsements
New public employee pay data: Douglas, Lancaster, Sarpy Counties, plus utilities
Database: How much did Medicare pay your doctor?
Omaha area may get 1 inch of rain tonight
Gov. Heineman vetoes bill to ease restrictions on nurse practitioners
Nebraska banking and finance director to retire
Waitress who served alcohol to teen before fatal crash gets jail time, probation
Owners of exotic dance bar deny prostitution allegations
More Nebraskans are electing to vote early
A day after Ricketts endorsement, Ted Cruz backs Sasse for Senate
Some city streets remain closed
Nebraska's U.S. Senate candidates stick to familiar topics at Omaha forum
19-year-old killed in one-vehicle crash at 72nd & Shirley
< >
Kelly: Started at a dining room table, Home Instead thriving at 20 with $1B in annual revenue
The idea that Paul Hogan had studied and then hatched at his mother's table was that older people, rather than moving in with relatives or to an assisted-living center, would much prefer to stay home instead.
Breaking Brad: Nebraska GOP candidates unified against naked squirrels
Some of these Nebraska campaigns are tilting pretty far right. At a recent forum, there was a consensus that we need to ban public dancing and clothe naked squirrels in public parks.
Breaking Brad: Inside the mind of a 99-year-old real estate agent
I saw an article about a 99-year-old real estate agent who's still working. “This house is extra special. It has indoor toilets!”
Breaking Brad: Into the claw machine! Florida kid follows Lincoln kid's lead
In Fort Lauderdale, Fla., a child climbed inside a claw machine. Hey, Florida kid: Nobody likes a copycat.
Breaking Brad: Even Chuck Hassebrook's throwing mud!
The Nebraska campaigns have turned so ugly, Democrat Chuck Hassebrook lobbed unfounded accusations at an imaginary opponent.
Deadline Deal thumbnail
Tokyo Sushi
$5 for $10 or $10 for $20 toward All-You-Can-Eat Sushi Purchase
Buy Now
< >
Omaha World-Herald Contests
Enter for a chance to win great prizes.
OWH Store: Buy photos, books and articles
Buy photos, books and articles
Travel Snaps Photo
Going on Vacation? Take the Omaha World-Herald with you and you could the next Travel Snaps winner.
Click here to donate to Goodfellows
The 2011 Goodfellows fund drive provided holiday meals to nearly 5,000 families and their children, and raised more than $500,000 to help families in crisis year round.
Want to get World-Herald stories sent directly to your home or work computer? Sign up for's News Alerts and you will receive e-mails with the day's top stories.
Can't find what you need? Click here for site map »