Unfinished Lives

Remembering LGBT Hate Crime Victims

African American Gay Teen Slaughtered in Baltimore

Baltimore, MD – A 15-year-old African American sophomore who was open to his classmates about his sexual orientation was found Tuesday, November 10 stuffed in a closet in his aunt’s house, raped, gagged with a pillowcase, and stabbed multiple times in the head and throat.  The Baltimore Sun reports that Dante Parrish, 35, a convicted felon who knew Jason Mattison, Jr. and his family, was arrested on November 12 at a convenience store, and charged with first-degree murder.  After release from prison, Parrish roomed in Mattison’s aunt’s home on Llewellyn Avenue, where Jason was also living at the time.  Reports speculate that Parrish had forced a sexual relationship on the teenager.  A spokesman from the Baltimore Police Department said that Parrish, who is being held in custody without bond, confessed to the murder.  Jason was a joyous non-conformist, known at West Baltimore’s Vivian T. Thomas Medical Arts Academy where he attended high school as a witty, chatty young gay man who lived out his sexual orientation without apology.  When other boys harassed him for his tight jeans and feminine-looking sweaters, he always seemed to have a quick answer, and would walk away from the encounter smiling.  He had planned to become a pediatrician according to his teachers, who believed that no matter how cheery he appeared to be, the slurs hurled at him still hurt.  When he came out to his family, there was some friction, but gradually they accepted him, according to his paternal grandmother, Mrs. Wanda Williams.  Williams was among the earliest members of his family to whom he came out, and she admitted to reporters that his revelations caught her off-guard.  She was worried about her grandson.  “I accepted his sexual preferences,” she said. “But I told him, ‘You’re young and don’t understand life.’ I told him, ‘Plenty of young women would love to be with you.’ He said he likes boys. Young people don’t like to listen to adults, but I told him I’m not going to push him away.”  Jason’s murder has devastated his grandmother.  “I haven’t cried so much this entire life,” Williams said to The Sun. “My grandson hollering for help and there is nobody there to help him.”  Many unanswered questions remain for family, classmates and friends.  Why would his relatives allow Parrish to stay in the same house as Jason, given Parrish’s violent past?  Were the reports of a sexual relationship with Parrish true, or fabricated by a man facing the worst criminal charges of his life?  What were the circumstances that led up to one of the most gruesome anti-gay murders in the history of Baltimore?  Jason’s funeral was held this Wednesday at Unity United Methodist Church.  His cousin, Laquanna Couplin, who was also living in the house on Llewellyn where Jason was killed, told reporters, “He was a terrific boy, and we miss him very much.  We’re hoping that justice is served and that the person who is responsible for this goes to prison and doesn’t get out.”  She spoke lovingly of her young cousin, “He was a sweet young man. He wasn’t afraid of who he was. He had a life ahead of him. I just wish he could’ve had a chance to live it.”  A candlelight vigil is planned Sunday, November 22 in Dallas, Texas to call for justice for Jason.

November 19, 2009 - Posted by | African Americans, anti-LGBT hate crime murder, Bullying in schools, gay men, harassment, Hate Crimes, Heterosexism and homophobia, Law and Order, Maryland, Perpetrators of Hate Crime, Remembrances, Slurs and epithets, stabbings, Strangulation, Texas | , , , , , , , , , , ,

1 Comment

  1. […] in memory of the 19-year-old Puerto Rican and another gruesomely slain gay teen, African American Jason Mattison, Jr., who died within days of López Mercado, making last week one of the most shocking in recent […]

    Pingback by Mother of Slain Gay Puerto Rican Teen Speaks Out; Protests and Vigils Break Out Worldwide « Unfinished Lives | February 14, 2010

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