Local couple urges awareness after home vandalized in alleged hate crime

Turning a case of vandalism into a teaching moment

WYNANTSKILL, N.Y. (NEWS10) – A Wynantskill couple says their home was vandalized because of their sexual orientation, and they hope their story will help change minds.

“Monday night, I woke up to the dogs barking and growling, and I heard someone at the back door,” Lyle Houston said. “I heard the handle kind of being jostled.”

Houston said his dogs scared off the potential intruders but not for long.

“And then they came back Wednesday night, Thursday morning,” he said.

Back at his home, the suspects tried to smash a back door window but didn’t get through the safety glass. Then Houston saw the damage to his brick home.

Hate Crime House 2

Homophobic slurs were spray painted across the outside wall and shutters. The window of his jeep was also smashed.

His partner, John Mcenerney, was shocked, especially by the word ‘Jenner [censored].’

“I looked at it, and I was like, ‘Jenner? Really?’” he said. “Because we’re not transgendered. We’ve been strong supporters of Caitlyn Jenner. It’s sad. It’s really sad that somebody felt the need to do this.”

But the support of friends, neighbors and even strangers has helped them cope.

“We’ve had complete strangers come here with cards, with money, with gift cards,” Houston said.

The couple also hopes the kindness continues. They hope others learn to accept everyone.

“You’ve got to stand up for yourself,” Mcenerney said. “If people stop standing up, then there’s going to be more deaths; there’s going to be more suicides. It’s a real issue that needs to be discussed from 99-years old down to as young as kids can understand.”

Houston also plans to take money raised by the community and raise awareness through education.

“Start a foundation here in Albany to prevent and stop violence against LGBT,” he said.

North Greenbush police confirm they are investigating the incident but would not comment further.

 

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