Unfinished Lives

Remembering LGBT Hate Crime Victims

Threatening Postcards to Gay Profs Ignite Investigations

Images on hate mail sent to gay professor, John Koster photo for North County Times

San Marcos, CA – Authorities for the county, state, and federal governments launched a co-ordinated investigation last week into menacing postcards being sent to three gay Palomar College professors.  Since mid-2008, 20 postcards threatening murder have been sent to the trio, with 1o of these targeting Dr. Fergal O’Doherty, an open and out gay man who teaches English at the San Marcos campus.  O’Doherty said that FBI agents had contacted him on January 21, informing him that they are carrying out an investigation.  Sending threats through the U.S. Mail is an automatic federal offense.  O’Doherty told Morgan Cook, staff writer for the North County Times, that the cards sent to him have included images of sexual violence and death, the most disturbing of which showed skeletons engaged in sex acts with a repetitive caption reading “I’m glad I’m not dead” 10 times.  The tenth caption omitted the word “dead.”  One of the most recent cards Professor O’Doherty received shows a collage of pop culture images, a Nazi swastika, and a drawing of Elvis Presley sporting devil’s horns.  The caption on this postcard reads, “I want to go to Hell like Elvis.”  Authorities have not yet determined that these cards constitute a hate crime, but colleagues on the Palomar College campus are not waiting for such a determination.  They have founded a group to raise awareness of hate crimes and combat them before they are acted out, called the Palomar College Committee to Combat Hate.  Members of the group are committed to the human rights of LGBT people on the campus.  O’Doherty says that since he is one of the few openly homosexual professors at the 30,000 student community college, located 30 miles north of San Diego, his sexual orientation is probably the magnet for the hate mail.  From the variety of academic and pop culture icons incorporated into the cards, some as eminent as singer/songwriter Leonard Cohen and author Ernest Hemingway, but also including relatively obscure philosophers, O’Doherty speculates that the person creating them is intelligent, well-read, and dangerous.  “[The card-creator] mentions works by writers and philosophers that aren’t even assigned in undergrad classes,” he told the North County Times.  While this is not the first time O’Doherty and other gay faculty have been harassed for their sexual orientation, this is the first time officials have taken the threat seriously.  Even then, when the postcards started appearing, campus police refused to act, apparently believing that they were written by a harmless crank.  With over 13,000 documented violent crimes perpetrated against LGBT people throughout the nation in the decade prior to the passage of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act in October 2009, and spiking numbers of anti-LGBT hate crimes in California where Proposition 8 and Marriage Equality are such hotly contested issues, the decision to launch an investigation is more than prudent on the part of law enforcement.  Prevention is possible only when the menace is taken seriously.  That is exactly what Professor O’Doherty knows to be true, as he shows his most recent death threat by mail to the press.

January 29, 2010 Posted by | Anglo Americans, Anti-LGBT hate crime, California, death threats, FBI, gay men, harassment, Hate Crime Statistics, Hate Crimes, hate crimes prevention, Heterosexism and homophobia, Law and Order, Legislation, Marriage Equality, Matthew Shepard Act, Perpetrators of Hate Crime, Popular Culture, Proposition 8 | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Threatening Postcards to Gay Profs Ignite Investigations

Arrest Made in Lesbian Stabbing Case

Suzanne Glover on the way to court

Buffalo, NY – From prosecution witness to defendant, all in one day.  That’s how it went down when Buffalo Police arrested Susanna Deanna Glover of Tonawanda last week, charging her with stabbing a lesbian in the eye on New Year’s Eve outside a popular gay bar.  Glover, 21, was taken into custody just hours after testifying against  a man who shot her boyfriend to death right before her eyes in April 2009.  Glover’s testimony helped jurors convict Jerome Thagard, 17, of the murder of Glover’s lover, Stephen Northrup, who was 31 at the time of his death.  After her boyfriend’s murder, Glover moved to Florida where she now lives, returning to Buffalo for the express purpose of testifying against Thagard.  The verdict in the Northrup case was handed down Monday evening.  By that time, Glover was under arrest for the stabbing, which law enforcement authorities are calling a hate crime.   The attack on Lindsay C. Harmon, 29, along with the murder of Christopher Rudow, a 32-year-old gay man, has rocked the Buffalo LGBT community in recent weeks.  Glover allegedly attacked Lindsay Harmon outside Roxy’s, an LGBT nightclub, stabbing her in the left eye while yelling homophobic slurs.  A grand jury will have to make the determination whether the charges against Glover for the attack warrant a hate crime designation, based on their judgment of Glover’s motivation for the attack.  According to WIVB News 4, Glover attempted to hide her face from cameras as she was hustled into  a city courtroom to face a judge.  Harmon also attended the proceeding to get the first glimpse of her attacker since New Year’s, white bandaging prominent on her right eye.  Some vision is returning to Harmon, according to her father, Michael Harmon, who told reporters for News 4 that his daughter still had a long way to go before full health would be restored to her.  “It’s gonna be a long time and some more surgery,” he said. Glover has retained her own attorney, so the trial has been pushed back to later in February.

January 26, 2010 Posted by | Anglo Americans, Anti-LGBT hate crime, anti-LGBT hate crime murder, Florida, gay men, Hate Crimes, Heterosexism and homophobia, Law and Order, Lesbian women, New York, Perpetrators of Hate Crime, Slurs and epithets, stabbings | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Arrest Made in Lesbian Stabbing Case

Trans Community Demands Justice for Myra Ical

Houston, TX – Cristan Williams, Executive Director of the Transgender Foundation of America, takes the murder of Myra Ical personally.  “She died struggling for her life…She went down fighting and she was literally beaten to death,” she said to reporters for KHOU 11 News.  “It’s personal.  I feel it on a personal level.”  Hundreds agree with Williams.  Myra Chanel Ical, 51, died in a Montrose area field a week ago, and Houston’s transgender community has rallied to her memory.  Seven members of the transgender community have died violently in Houston in the last eleven years, and now the vigil organized to remember Ms. Ical on Monday night is being billed as the largest transgender event in Houston’s history.  The vigil’s organizers intend to focus attention on the plight of transgender people in Harris County and Houston as they honor Ms. Ical’s memory and call for neighbors in Montrose to share any leads they may have on the unsolved murder with police investigators.  While her slaying is not yet designated as a hate crime, police are certainly not ruling anything out.  Sgt. Bobby Roberts, spokesperson for the Houston Police Department, told reporters, “It could have been anything at this point. We just don’t have any motive whatsoever on this case.”  ABC News 13 reports that Ms. Ical’s body was covered in bruises and bore several defensive-type wounds that showed she was fighting back against her attacker(s).  Harris County’s Medical Examiner ruled that she died from strangulation by some sort of ligature.  Cristan Williams cannot get the horror of how Ms. Ical died out of her mind.  “That in and of itself was just a horrific way to die. Her last moments of life were sheer terror.”  Williams asks why none of the seven murders of Houston transgender people have been solved.  Police told her they have no evidence in any of the cases, something Williams attributes to the way anti-transgender crimes went largely unreported in the recent past.  Until the passage of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act this past October, local and federal law enforcement agencies were not mandated to keep statistics on transgender hate crimes.  Like the transgender population, these crimes were largely ignored.  Human rights advocates for the LGBT community are watching closely to see if the election of Annise Parker, an open and out lesbian, as Mayor of Houston will make a difference in how law enforcement and the media approach violence against some of the most vulnerable citizens of America’s 4th largest city.

January 25, 2010 Posted by | anti-LGBT hate crime murder, Beatings and battery, Bludgeoning, Hate Crime Statistics, Hate Crimes, Latino and Latina Americans, Law and Order, Legislation, Lesbian women, Matthew Shepard Act, Media Issues, Protests and Demonstrations, Remembrances, Social Justice Advocacy, Strangulation, Texas, transgender persons, transphobia, Unsolved LGBT Crimes, Vigils | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Trans Community Demands Justice for Myra Ical

Major Media Fail Over Murder of Houston Transwoman

Houston, TX – Myra Ical lived and died as a transwoman, but the Houston media have not given her the dignity of acknowledging her gender identity when reporting on her likely hate murder.  The Houston Chronicle reported Ical’s January 18 murder in the Montrose section using exclusively male pronouns, calling her male, and playing up the sensational aspects of the area where homeless people eek out a living.  As is often sadly the case in reportage that is lazy and salacious, the Chronicle used innuendo to suggest that Ical, whose body was found partially naked and covered with bruises and defensive injuries indicative of her fight with her attacker(s), was consorting with prostitutes and drug addicts.  Local and national LGBT rights organizations have pushed back against this media injustice by calling attention to Ms. Ical’s gender identity and expression, and demanding that reportage get this aspect of such a terrible story right.  According to The Advocate, Human Rights Campaign board member and Pride Houston president Meghan Stabler submitted a strongly worded letter on behalf of both organizations to media outlets covering Ms. Ical’s murder, urging reporters to “use fair, accurate and inclusive reporting” when reporting on LGBT issues.  The letter read, in part: “On Monday January 18 the brutal murder of Myra Ical occurred in Houston. She is a transgender woman but the media continue to use male pronouns along with colorful statements about being found in an area known for drugs and prostitution. This lazy and irresponsible journalism shows the amount of ignorance about transgender issues that is rampant among far too many reporters despite the existence of resources to help them report accurately.” GLAAD and the AP have clear guidelines on how LGBT-oriented stories should be reported, leaving big media like the Houston Chronicle without excuse.  Myra Ical, who was 51 when she died, will be remembered at a candlelight vigil near the site of her murder at the corner of Richmond Avenue and Garrott Street on Monday, January 25, from 6-6:30 pm.  The Facebook notice for the vigil calls upon media and the Houston Police Department “to communicate with the public in a way that respects the victim.”  Thanks to Daniel Williams for breaking this story in the DFW metroplex.

January 23, 2010 Posted by | anti-LGBT hate crime murder, Beatings and battery, Blame the victim, Bludgeoning, Hate Crimes, Latino and Latina Americans, Law and Order, Media Issues, Remembrances, Social Justice Advocacy, Texas, transgender persons, transphobia, Uncategorized, Unsolved LGBT Crimes | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Queens Gay Bashers Indicted for Hate Crimes

Defendant Daniel Rodriguez

Queens, NY – Both men charged with the savage assault that left gay New Yorker Jack Price near death in mid-October have been indicted for 14 counts of assault and robbery as a hate crime, as well as possession of stolen property.  Daniel Rodriguez, 21, and Daniel Aleman, 26, both from College Point, Queens, allegedly attacked Jack Price, 49, early in the morning on October 8. The assault, sudden and brutal, lasted for roughly three minutes.  A surveillance camera caught the bashing on tape, a damning piece of evidence the defense will have a hard time explaining away.  According to Gay City News, if convicted, each defendant could receive up to 25 years in prison, with the stipulation that neither of them could be released before 21 years of the sentence had been served.  Police investigators said that the bashing took place 4:30 a.m. on October 8 as Price was leaving a local 24-hour delicatessen.  Rodriguez and Aleman allegedly accosted Price in the deli as he was buying a pack of cigarettes, and then followed him outside to press their attack.  During the beating, Rodriguez allegedly yelled at Price repeatedly, calling him a “faggot.”  After rifling through his pockets, the pair shown on camera left the scene.  Price, before falling into a coma, was able to identify his assailants to police.  Unbeknownst to Rodriguez and Aleman, who allegedly taunted him in Spanish, Price understood the language, and gave details of what he heard to the investigators.  Price lay in the New York Medical Center of Queens for better than three weeks, suffering from a broken jaw, a lacerated spleen, broken ribs, and two collapsed lungs.  Protests against hate violence were organized swiftly, the largest of them comprised of over 500 who demanded justice for Price.  A small contingent of supporters of the defendants staged a counter-protest.  Aleman was arrested in short order in Queens.  Rodriguez fled to Norfolk, Virginia, where he was arrested on October 13.  After his transport back to Queens for arraignment, Rodriguez confessed to NYPD officers that he assaulted Price, and gave the following details of the run-up to the attack, according to WABC News: “According to prosecutors, Rodriguez admitted he and the other suspect Daniel Aleman confronted Price believing he was about to write his phone number on a wall in order to solicit other men. It was that confrontation that led to the beating. Prosecutors also say Rodriguez admitted to yelling anti-gay epithets while beating Price. Rodriguez’s attorney says that his client never confessed and that the NYPD detectives basically put words in his client’s mouth.”  Price counters that he never wrote graffiti on the deli wall, and did nothing to provoke the attack.  Rodriguez’s animus toward Price was clear to investigators who report that Rodriguez admitted to using the anti-gay slurs because “Jack is disgusting.”  Both defendants are being held at Riker’s Island without bail.  Price has substantially recovered from the physical aspects of the beating, but the psychological injuries he sustained will take a lifetime to cope with.  When he woke up from his coma in the hospital, he told relatives that he was “surprised to be alive.”

January 22, 2010 Posted by | Anglo Americans, Anti-LGBT hate crime, Beatings and battery, Blame the victim, gay men, harassment, Hate Crimes, Heterosexism and homophobia, Latino and Latina Americans, Law and Order, New York, Perpetrators of Hate Crime, Protests and Demonstrations, Slurs and epithets, Social Justice Advocacy, Stomping and Kicking Violence, Vigils | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Gay Man’s Murderer Denied Parole Again

Huntsville, TX – Jon Christopher Buice, serving a 45-year sentence for the murder of gay banker Paul Broussard, was denied parole for the fifth time in a mid-December decision to keep the confessed killer behind bars. Buice, now 33, is the last of the so-called “Woodlands 10” still incarcerated for the notorious anti-gay killing which took place on July 4, 1991 in the Montrose section of Houston. Broussard, 27, a gentle, fun-loving gay man who specialized in setting up retirement accounts for clients of Bank of America, was attacked by the gang outside Heaven, a popular gay nightclub. In a letter sent to Gabi Clayton, founder of FUAH, Families United Against Hate, Broussard’s mother, Nancy Rodriguez, recalled the details of the fatal assault on her son: “[Paul] and two of his friends were walking to their car in Montrose when they were attacked by ten men. These ten men, members of the gang that came to be known in and around Harris County as ‘the gay bashers’ drove from the Woodlands into Houston for the sole purpose of harassing gays. Paul was thrown to the ground, kicked, hit in the face, ribs, chest and groin. The four men who did this wore steel toed boots and had boards with nails driven into them. While Paul was lying on the ground moaning and in a great deal of pain, Jon Buice stabbed him in the chest with his buck knife, going left to right. He also stabbed Paul in the abdomen, going front to back and toe to head. The depth of penetration was five and one half inches to the inferior vena cava and small intestine. This information is from the autopsy report. There is no doubt in my mind that Buice meant to kill Paul.” The other assailants were given lighter sentences, and have all subsequently been released from prison. Supporters of Buice argue that he has maintained a spotless prison record, earning two college degrees during his incarceration. They also believe that Buice has demonstrated good faith toward the Houston LGBT community, asking their forgiveness for his role in Broussard’s brutal murder. Nancy Rodriguez isn’t buying stories of Buice’s rehabilitation. She says she is committed to making her son’s killer serve 27 years of his sentence–one year for every year of Paul’s life. She told the Houston Press that the only remorse she sees in Buice after all these years is the Johnny-come-lately kind, in contrast to the response of other members of the gang. “Others seemed sorry, and said so right away, and it did mean something,” she said. Rodriguez is campaigning for a full five-year set aside before Buice can be considered for parole again, in order to break the cycle of annual hearings he has been granted for the past few years. “All I can say is, I’ll be back next year,” Rodriguez said when contacted by the Conroe Courier about the board’s recent denial of Buice’s request for release.

January 20, 2010 Posted by | Anglo Americans, anti-LGBT hate crime murder, Beatings and battery, Bludgeoning, gay men, harassment, Hate Crimes, Heterosexism and homophobia, Law and Order, Perpetrators of Hate Crime, stabbings, Texas | , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Gay Man’s Murderer Denied Parole Again

Indiana University Breaks Silence on Black Gay Professor’s Murder

Bloomington, IN – After a long silence, the Provost of Indiana University at Bloomington issued an official statement January 11 on the suspected hate killing of black gay professor, Dr. Don Belton, whose body was found stabbed multiple times in the kitchen of his home on December 27.  Critics of the university administration suggested that stony silence about the circumstances of Dr. Belton’s murder was damaging his reputation in an already sensationalized media atmosphere.  An ex-Marine, Michael J. Griffin, 25, has confessed to the crime as revenge for two sexual assaults allegedly perpetrated on him by the 53-year-old African American professor at a Christmas party.  Friends and colleagues of Dr. Belton are working diligently to overthrow this suspicious “gay panic” motive on the grounds that Dr. Belton was never the sort of man to assault anyone.  Griffin is being held without bail in the Monroe County jail awaiting trial.  Dr. Belton’s murder is part of an emerging pattern of hate killings of black gay academics in the United States.  Dr. Lindon Barrett, 46-year-old professor of English and African American Studies at the University of California – Irvine, was strangled to death in 2008.  Dr. Barrett’s alleged killer, Marlon Martinez, 22, was to stand trial in early 2010 for the murder, but was found dead in his Los Angeles County jail cell on Christmas Day.  The Long Beach Press Telegram reports that the cause of Martinez’s death is as yet undetermined. The statement of the provost of IUB is printed here in full:

Dear Faculty, Staff, and Students,

As the campus begins the new semester, we must acknowledge a terrible loss. Some of you may just now be returning to campus after the holidays, and I am very sad to inform you that the Indiana University community lost a dear colleague during the semester break.

Don Belton, a faculty member in the English Department, was slain at his home in Bloomington on December 27. (An arrest has been made in the case.)

In his relatively brief time at IUB, Professor Belton earned the admiration and affection of his colleagues and students.

He was a gifted writer and a highly-valued member of the faculty of our distinguished Creative Writing Program, in the Department of English. He was very well liked and very well-respected. His death is a loss not just to his family and friends, and our academic community, but also to the extended world of arts and letters and to all who value the humanistic traditions. His absence will be profoundly felt.

The murder of Professor Belton has evoked strong emotions throughout the community and indeed the nation. I trust that all members of our community will exhibit tolerance, compassion, and respect in the wake of the loss of a valued
colleague. Let us also show respect for one another and for the many and varied ways in which we express our grief over such a tragedy.

A memorial service to celebrate the life of Professor Belton will take place on Friday January 15, at 5 p.m. at the Unitarian Universalist Church on Fee Lane in Bloomington.

Our heartfelt sympathies go out to Professor Belton’s family, friends, and colleagues.

Karen Hanson
Provost and Executive Vice President

January 19, 2010 Posted by | African Americans, Anglo Americans, anti-LGBT hate crime murder, Blame the victim, California, gay men, gay panic defense, Hate Crimes, Indiana, Latino and Latina Americans, Law and Order, Media Issues, Perpetrators of Hate Crime, stabbings, Strangulation | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Dustin Lance Black & Neil Patrick Harris Elected to Trevor Project Board

Dustin Lance Black, Neil Patrick Harris, The Advocate photo

The Trevor Project, founded a decade ago to prevent LGBT teen suicide, announced Tuesday that Dustin Lance Black, 2008 Academy Award Winner for the screenplay of Milk, and Golden Globe nominee Neil Patrick Harris have joined the Board of Directors of the non-profit corporation.  The Advocate reports that Charles Robbins, executive director and CEO of the Trevor Project hailed the news that these two prominent gay men have accepted spots on the board in a prepared statement to the press:  “Because Dustin Lance Black and Neil Patrick Harris have already demonstrated their tireless commitment to LGBTQ youth and The Trevor Project, we are thrilled to welcome them to our leadership team,” Robbins said.  “As prominent members of the entertainment community, they will certainly help raise awareness about The Trevor Project’s programs and their insight will be invaluable as we work to empower young people with the crisis intervention skills and suicide prevention resources they need.”  The bios posted on non-profit’s Board of Directors web page chronicled the qualifications each of them brings to the work of LGBT teen suicide prevention.  Black, the bio notes, was honored in 2008 with The Trevor Hero Award, which annually honors an individual who, through his or her example, support, volunteerism and/or occupation, is an inspiration to LGBTQ youth.  Black, who was the motive force behind the Oscar-winning movie on the life of slain gay rights leader, Harvey Milk,  said, “All of the work we’re doing today to win LGBT equality is for these young people’s futures. So it is vital that we insure they survive today’s challenges so they might know tomorrow’s freedoms. I’m honored to have the opportunity to continue and expand my involvement with this lifesaving organization as a member of the Board of Directors.”  Neil Patrick Harris, star of Dougie Howser, M.D., Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle, and successful host of recent Emmy Awards and Tony Awards ceremonies, was given the 2009 Trevor Life Award, based on his efforts to support and inspire LGBT youth around the world.  Harris expressed his enthusiasm for being elected to the Board of Directors, saying, “I’ve been a longtime supporter of The Trevor Project, and I’m excited to become even more actively involved in raising awareness of its unique and vital mission. I hope that my involvement with The Trevor Project will help bring attention to the need for effective crisis and suicide prevention services for LGBTQ youth nationwide.”  The addition of these two important figures in the entertainment industry will continue to life the profile of the Trevor Project.  LGBT teens are three to seven times more likely to attempt suicide than their heterosexual counterparts. Bullying in schools is the largest single cause of gay teens taking their own lives in America.

January 13, 2010 Posted by | Bullying in schools, gay men, gay teens, LGBT teen suicide prevention, Popular Culture, Social Justice Advocacy | , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Dustin Lance Black & Neil Patrick Harris Elected to Trevor Project Board

Gay Man Murdered in Buffalo; Hate Crime Suspected

Buffalo, NY – Christopher Rudow, a 32-year-old gay man, was found murdered in his Buffalo loft apartment on Tuesday, January 5.  His friends suspect a hate crime motive in the killing.  Rudow was a well-liked employee of GEICO who moved from New York City to Buffalo six years ago.  He was known throughout the LGBT community largely because of his expertise as a DJ, his avocation on the side.  Friends describe Rudow as a real professional who had the equipment and the know-how to be a great tune-spinner.  He owned expensive audio components that he kept in three trunks inside his Elk Terminal apartment, but none of it was disturbed by whoever killed him.  WIVB Television reports the coronor determined Rudow’s cause of death to be blunt force trauma.  No suspects have surfaced in the investigation thus far.  Rudow’s murder took place hot on the heels of two other possible anti-LGBT hate crimes in the Buffalo metro area.  In nearby Cheektowaga, two women were charged with assaulting a 20-year-old gay man on December 31 at the Walden Galleria while yelling homophobic slurs.  On New Year’s Day, Lindsay Harmon, a 29-year-old lesbian was stabbed in the face and eye by a young woman shouting similar slurs at her.  LGBT activists in Buffalo say that many more hate crime attacks have occurred in recent months but go unreported, either because of fear of exposure, or out of a sense of despair that law enforcement will ever prosecute the crimes under New York’s hate crime law.  As Kitty Lambert, President of Outspoken for Equality, a Buffalo LGBT rights organization said to The Buffalo News, “I personally know of 10 unreported hate crime assaults in the city in the past two months. Why? Because people are frightened to report it.  Why should they bother reporting it?,” she added.  “It won’t be prosecuted as a hate crime.”  The LGBT community is alarmed and on their guard, expecting more attacks.  In the meanwhile, the investigation into Christopher Rudow’s murder goes on.  His case has yet to be designated as a hate crime, but human rights advocates throughout Western New York are demanding answers as to why authorities seem so reluctant to employ the hate crimes laws in the battle against violent homophobia.

January 12, 2010 Posted by | Anglo Americans, anti-LGBT hate crime murder, Beatings and battery, Bludgeoning, gay men, harassment, Hate Crimes, Heterosexism and homophobia, Law and Order, Lesbian women, New York, Slurs and epithets, Social Justice Advocacy, stabbings, Unsolved LGBT Crimes | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Woman Stabbed In Eye by Homophobe

Buffalo, NY – Amidst a spate of recent anti-LGBT assaults in the Buffalo area, a 29-year-old lesbian was stabbed in the face and the eye by a woman shouting anti-gay slurs.  Lindsay C. Harmon was leaving a club on New Year’s about 2 a.m. when a woman assailed her and her friends with anti-gay slurs, and stabbed her in the right eye.  No one has been arrested for the crime.  While local law enforcement has not designated the case as a hate crime assault, Harmon has no doubt as to the reason she was targeted.  She is gay.  The Buffalo News reports that Harmon had never feared for herself or her friends until the attack, which authorities are calling “unusually severe.”  Harmon and her friends were leaving a New Year’s celebration at Roxy’s, a popular downtown nightclub, when a group of men and two women began shouting at them.  The exchange of words let to a confrontation.  Harmon related to SheWired.com, “I just remember saying, “What did you say?’ It’s just crazy to me. I’d never think anyone would say that in the main gay area of Buffalo. I’ve been going to Roxy’s for like 10 years.”  Then Harmon says she tried to break up the argument when a young woman in her late teens or early 20s stabbed her in the eye.  “Let’s go home,” I said. “Let’s get out of here,” Harmon recalled.  “I was walking away, and she [the attacker] came behind me, and I got nailed. I thought I’d been punched, and I fell. I just sat there waiting for her to kick me or something.”  Her friends started to go after the assailant, but hesitated when one of them shouted warned that the attacker had a knife.  At that moment, Harmon began crying out that she was blind in her right eye.  Police are searching for two women who fled the scene after Harmon was stabbed.  Following three hours of surgery, she has only recovered the ability to see shadows with her injured eye.  No one knows whether she will ever be able to see normally with it again.   According to Jay Tokasz of the Buffalo News, Harmon has stitches in her eyelid, cheek and arm and has to take three kinds of eye-drop medications every two hours. “I sleep as much as I possibly can,” she said in a phone interview, “because my eye gets really sore.”  The story of the brutal assault on an innocent lesbian has resonated far beyond the Buffalo metro area.  As of this writing, more than 17,000 Facebook members have joined a support group for Harmon online. A former resident of Buffalo, an anonymous insurance broker, was so deeply touched by Harmon’s plight that he put up a $5,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the attacker.  Harmon says she intends to write in response to every comment on her Facebook page.  “I never thought it would get this big out into the world,” she said.

January 12, 2010 Posted by | Anglo Americans, Anti-LGBT hate crime, harassment, Heterosexism and homophobia, Law and Order, Lesbian women, New York, Perpetrators of Hate Crime, Slurs and epithets, stabbings, Unsolved LGBT Crimes, women | , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Woman Stabbed In Eye by Homophobe

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