888 4 GAY NEWS or 888-442-9639

Veteran living in L.A. says he's being targeted by homophobic neighbors

Photo credit:
Stock Photo - Flickr

A Los Angeles man has accused his neighbors of harassment because he is gay. Retired journalist and Air Force veteran Ryan Gierach says since he moved into his apartment in San Pedro two years ago he’s been relentlessly targeted by people who use homophobic slurs.

“When I came here my neighbors directly across from me began calling me names—all of them revolving around gay epithets,” Gierach tells KTLA.

He alleges it’s always been bad, but has gotten worse since he began displaying his rainbow flag during Pride month. That resulted in an escalation of verbal abuse, and even garbage being thrown at him.

There’s video of one of the confrontations in which a woman goes up to his door, and through the glass, mocks him then spits at him. Los Angeles Police Department officials say they have seen the video and will investigate.

What’s more, several months back someone was posting sheets of paper accusing Gierach of being a pedophile. The flyer had his address, an epithet and called him “a child molesting sex offender.

“This is relying on an old gay stereotype that gays are pedophiles, long disproven by all science,” says Lambda Legal lawyer Shedrick Davis. “This counts as slander.”

Discharged from the Air Force for being gay in 1979, Gierach also started a controversial LGBT publication in West Hollywood called WeHo News. Through the years he’s had setbacks including a publicized drug addiction and according to Wehoville.com some past confrontations with tenants from past rentals. 

As a journalist, he says he’s reported on homophobia and gets emotional while discussing what he’s currently going through with some of his neighbors.

“For 20 years now I’ve covered this sort of thing happening to other people. And it hurt me deeply every time it happened to other people,” he says. “To be attacked for being a loving person is perverse.”

But other people in San Pedro say they have his back, "It's a sad situation and we not going to let it happen because when you mess with one of us you mess with all of us," said a neighbor flying a rainbow flag on his porch.