Unfinished Lives

Remembering LGBT Hate Crime Victims

Austin Rallies Against Downtown Anti-LGBT Hate Crime

Daily Texan photo

Austin, TX – The safety of LGBT folk in the Texas capital remains in question as University of Texas students and native Austinites struggle with the events of February 20.  That night, two young gay men wearing Shady Ladies athletic jerseys were assaulted by four African American men shouting anti-gay slurs at them as the pair walked from one of Austin’s most popular gay bars to their car, parked near City Hall.  The attack struck Emmanuel Winston and Matt Morgan from behind.  They were brutally beaten and left on the sidewalk bleeding.  News of the assault has shaken Austin, which prides itself with a progressive reputation in the Lone Star State.  Though the investigation is ongoing, police are not yet able to label the attack a hate crime because of the peculiarity of Texas law.  Until an arrest has been made and a defendant is prosecuted, a crime cannot be called a “hate crime” under state statutes.  That is not stopping the supporters of the two gay men who were assaulted, however, according to News 8 Austin.  Jeff Butler, a friend of the targeted men, said, “They were followed, attacked from behind, and brutally beaten by four men who uttered slurs.  I don’t care how much lipstick you put on that pig. We will not allow you to cover this hate crime up.”  Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo told reporters, “I think we have to finish the investigation first to see what the totality of the facts, evidence and circumstances are.”  Acevedo then joined over 1,000 marchers as Winston and Morgan led the crowd from Oilcan Harry’s, the bar they visited that night, to the site of the attack.  The Shady Ladies, an LGBT friendly softball team, wore their distinctive pink and blue jerseys and brandished a banner reading, “Austin March Against Hate.”  The Daily Texan, UT’s student newspaper, reports that Glen Maxey, the first openly gay legislator in Texas history, expressed concern about the meaning of the attack.  Though anti-LGBT hatred was widespread in Texas twenty years ago, for such an attack to occur on the streets of Austin in 2010 is alarming to the gay rights pioneer.  “This is supposed to be behind us,” Maxey said.  A low-resolution camera caught the suspects on video, but because of the condition of the images, they could not be identified.  City officials are debating whether to increase the number of high-resolution surveillance cameras on city streets as a possible way to deter such crimes.  City Councilman Mike Martinez told The Daily Texan that the city had applied for federal funds to place more anti-crime cameras on the streets, but the feds denied the request.  Voicing his hope that the news of this crime will thaw up federal money, Martinez remains skeptical about stemming the tide of hate violence through technology alone.  “A camera can only take a picture of ignorance,” Martinez said. “It’s not going to cure it.”  For now, citizens of the Texas capital city are not so much concerned about “Keeping Austin Weird” as they are about keeping the streets of Austin safe.

March 3, 2010 - Posted by | African Americans, Anglo Americans, Anti-LGBT hate crime, Beatings and battery, gay men, Hate Crimes, hate crimes prevention, Heterosexism and homophobia, Latino and Latina Americans, Law and Order, Legislation, Perpetrators of Hate Crime, Protests and Demonstrations, Slurs and epithets, Social Justice Advocacy, Unsolved LGBT Crimes | , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

1 Comment

  1. […] in the capital city this year. In February 2010, for example, two male team members from the Shady Ladies Softball Club were assaulted near the Austin City Hall. The attack on the gay athletes sparked a downtown March […]

    Pingback by Austin Becoming Unsafe for Gays: Bashing on 4th Street « Unfinished Lives | December 29, 2010

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