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The stabbing of a gay man during a blind date in south Tulsa Monday night has rattled the LGBTQIA community, as police search for the suspect.

According to Tulsa Police Department, the victim met up with a man after the pair began talking on Grindr, a popular LGBTQIA+ dating app.

The victim told police the suspect, who was on a bicycle, met him at a parking lot near 71st Street and S. Memorial Ave. Immediately after getting into the backseat, the suspect began stabbing the victim.

“The victim had stab wounds to his face, neck and chest. He was taken to the hospital and into surgery,” Tulsa Police said.

The suspect was described as a White male, around 5’6, thin build, wearing a plaid shirt and orange/yellow stocking cap. The suspect remains at large.

Meanwhile, LGBTQ+ advocates worry about the impact the unprovoked stabbing of a gay man will have on the community

Josiah Robinson is the LGBTQIA+ Advocate for Tulsa’s Human Rights Commission. He recently helped launch the Commission’s first-ever 2SLGBTQ+ committee.

“Hate crimes based on sexual orientation and gender identity are on the rise across the country,” Robinson told The Black Wall Street Times. “While we don’t know all the details of this incident yet, we do know that threats and violence targeting the LGBTQIA+ community are widespread, making this violent attack heartbreaking and unnerving,” he said.

Daniel McHenry, founder of Black Queer Tulsa, addresses Tulsa City Council. On Wednesday, March 1, Tulsa City Council voted unanimously to approve a resolution that affirms the city is safe, welcoming and inclusive for all. (Chris Creese / The Black Wall Street Times)

Hate crime?

The attack comes almost a year after a local business, The Donut Hole, was vandalized for promoting drag events. A suspect was caught on surveillance video firebombing the establishment.

Nationally, anti-LGBTQ hate crimes jumped 19 percent from 2021 to 2022, according to FBI statistics. Last year, the FBI recorded the most hate crimes–11,600– across all categories since it began tracking the data in 1991.

Notably, local police departments are responsible for reporting hate crimes, but it’s completely voluntary.

Only 11,883 agencies out of 18,812 city, state, municipal and tribal law enforcement agencies sent data to the FBI in 2021.

It’s an issue that gives LGBTQIA advocates like Robinson concerns about whether TPD will take the Grindr date-related stabbing in south Tulsa seriously.

“Our community is facing unprecedented attacks and loss on all fronts. I hope law enforcement and community leaders employ all means necessary to bring about a swift and just investigation while communicating solidarity with the community rattled by this horrific incident,” Robinson said.

In a phone call with TPD LGBTQIA Community Liaison Captain Thomas Bell Wednesday, he said the department is treating the incident like an attempted murder.

“This is a very serious crime. The suspect that’s still at large is a very dangerous individual. We definitely want to get handcuffs on this guy as quickly as we can,” Captain Bell told The Black Wall Street Times.

Stabbing of gay man sparks dating fears

Captain Bell said he plans to partner with Oklahomans for Equality to host a seminar on “App-based Dating Safety.” He said Monday’s brutal stabbing isn’t the first time he’s heard of dates arranged through apps going bad.

He’s received complaints of wallets and even XBox consoles being stolen after meeting someone on a dating app.

“One of the things I would really encourage Tulsans to be mindful of is when you’re meeting somebody from a website or dating app you don’t really know that person at all until you’re face to face,” Captain Bell told The Black Wall Street Times.

Captain Bell said he encourages people to date safely by choosing a public place as their first encounter.

“You can go to a coffee shop. You can go to a restaurant, where there’s other people around that’s safe before you put yourself in a potentially vulnerable position,” he said.

Anyone with information is asked to call Tulsa Crime Stoppers at 918-596-COPS. You can remain anonymous when calling. Please reference case 2023-053544 when calling.

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Deon Osborne was born in Minneapolis, MN and raised in Lawton, OK before moving to Norman where he attended the University of Oklahoma. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Strategic Media and has...

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