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'Homophobia Is Real:' Man, 25, Attacked By Pair Of Strangers In Potential Hate Crime Following Queens Pride Parade

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Police on Monday were investigating a potential hate crime which they say took place right after this weekend's Queens pride parade.

The day started as a celebration of love but ended with hate and terror for 25-year-old elementary school teacher Brandon Soriano.

Soriano tells CBS2's Ali Bauman he was just about to pick up food on his way home when two strangers attacked, totally unprovoked.

"Whatever anger they had they took it out on me," Soriano said.

The victim was left with a busted lip and large, raised bruises around his head after he says his attackers approached him Sunday around 10 pm at the corner of 37th Avenue and 84th Street in Jackson Heights.

Soriano says one of them yelled an anti-gay slur then beat him to the ground and knocked him unconscious.

"I don't know them from a hole in the wall," he said. "Never spoke to them before."

Soriano says he was celebrating the Queens pride parade hours earlier. He adds the block was bustling that night, and the area usually feels safe.

"Getting your butt kicked for the same reason you went to pride, just crazy," Soriano said.

When he regained consciousness, police had arrived but his attackers were gone. His family says they hope they find the suspects soon, while Brandon says if he sees them again he'd cross the street and walk the other way.

He says the attack hasn't left him scared or angry. Rather, he says he feels disillusioned.

"Homophobia is real and it's annoying," He said. "Definitely annoying."

The NYPD's Hate Crime Task Force is investigating the assault. Officers have been searching the block for surveillance images but police had not yet released a description of the suspects.

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